(CNN) — A train carrying ethanol derailed Thursday morning in Raymond, Minnesota, setting several cars on fire and forcing nearby residents to evacuate, authorities said.
Preliminary information suggests that 14 of the 40 carriages on the train were carrying hazardous material, “including ethanol, which was released and caused a fire,” US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg told CNN on Thursday.
The train was carrying mixed cargo, including ethanol and corn syrup, said Lena Kent, general manager of public affairs for BNSF Railway.
Ethanol is a highly flammable chemical. Exposure may cause coughing, dizziness, burning sensation in the eyes, drowsiness and unconsciousness.
The derailment occurred around 1 a.m., the Raymond Fire Department posted on Facebook. Homes within 0.3 km of the derailment zone were evacuated, the Kandiyohi County Sheriff’s Office said.
“There were no injuries as a result of the crash or the emergency response,” the sheriff’s office posted on Facebook. “BNSF specialists are on the scene and ongoing mitigation is taking place.”
The main road is blocked and there was no estimated time for the reopening of the line.
“The city of Raymond is not accessible to the public, so Unity Church in Prinsburg is willing to be a drop-off location for bottled water and snacks for firefighters,” said the wife of a member of the fire department, according to the page. of the department’s Facebook page. “These brave souls have already been hard at work for hours and have several hours of work ahead of them.”
The cause of the derailment is under investigation.
The Minnesota Department of Transportation closed a nearby highway due to the derailment and fire, the fire department said.
Brittney Phelps and her family were shocked when there was a knock on their door at 1:30 a.m. It was a lifeguard going door-to-door telling residents to flee as a precaution.
“I heard a loud bang, but I didn’t think of anything until the ambulances were outside the house,” Phelps said.
He soon smelled the stench of ethanol and saw wrecked train cars and a huge fire, Phelps told CNN.
His family is staying at one of the designated emergency shelters for evacuees: a school in the nearby town of Prinsburg.
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz and state emergency management leaders will travel to Raymond on Thursday to visit the site of the derailment, the governor’s office said.
The derailment occurred nearly two months after another train carrying dangerous chemicals derailed in East Palestine, Ohio, sparking a day-long inferno, spewing poisonous gases into the air and killing thousands of fish.
CNN’s Andi Babineau, Kara Devlin, Brenda Goodman and Gregory Wallace contributed to this report.
Source: CNN Espanol