SEATTLE (AP) — An oil-train derailment and fire has damaged essential city services in a small Oregon town, authorities said Sunday.
The Mosier waste water treatment plant and sewer system are not operational as a result of the derailment Friday of 16 of the 96 tank cars on a Union Pacific train. A fire in four of the cars was extinguished Saturday morning.
An area about a quarter mile around the train remained evacuated on Sunday, and officials were conducting continuous water and air monitoring. About a hundred people were evacuated from a nearby mobile home park by the train derailment and fire that sent plumes of black smoke into the sky near the scenic Columbia River Gorge.
Residents of Mosier were being asked to boil any water they used for drinking or cooking, as a precaution.
"Today's priority is focused on safely restoring essential services to the community of Mosier as soon as possible," incident spokeswoman Judy Smith of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said in a statement.
Authorities were working to clean up an oil sheen in the Columbia River near the scene of the derailment, while the oil inside the remaining tank cars was being moved to trucks.
No injuries have been reported. But Oregon health officials are asking people with questions or concerns to call a hotline to talk to a health expert at 888-623-3120.
Including Friday's incident, at least 26 oil trains have been involved in major fires or derailments during the past decade in the U.S. and Canada, according to an Associated Press analysis of accident records from the two countries.
The worst was a 2013 derailment that killed 47 people in Lac-Megantic, Quebec. Damage from that accident has been estimated at $1.2 billion or higher.