Train derails on DC reservation leaking diesel fuel: officials
A freight train derailed in northwest Washington just after midnight Thursday, leaking what state officials estimated could be as much as 5,000 gallons of diesel fuel, although a spokesperson for the railroad said it was much less.
The BNSF railroad train overturned on a berm near a canal on the Swinomish Reservation in Anacortes. Most of the fuel leaked landward and no injuries or impacts to water or wildlife were reported, the state ecology department said in a statement.
The estimated spill figure of 5,000 gallons was determined by the first ecology personnel to respond to the scene, Emily Tasaka, communications manager at the state ecology department, told HuffPost.
“The actual spill was from the two locomotives at the front and what spilled was their diesel fuel; it wasn’t really cargo he was carrying,” Tasaka said.
The train’s four tank cars were labeled to carry propane, but they were empty at the time of the derailment, she said.
BNSF spokeswoman Lena Kent told HuffPost that the amount of fuel that leaked was “minimal” and not 5,000 gallons as reported by state officials. She could not provide the actual amount, however, stating that it is speculation at this stage.
“BNSF already has staff working with local authorities at the scene and the cause of the incident is being investigated,” Kent said in an email Thursday morning.
The derailment came just hours after another BNSF freight train derailed in western Arizona on Wednesday night. This train was carrying corn syrup and no injuries were reported. The cause of the derailment was not immediately known, Kent told NPR.
The derailments come amid heightened concern for rail safety following a violent train derailment in Ohio last month. The train was carrying hazardous chemicals and caused a widespread evacuation of the local area.
There are about 1,000 train derailments per year, according to data shared by the Federal Railroad Administration. The BNSF, which operates an average of 1,200 trains a day according to its website, reported 279 derailments last year.
Early media reports said the train that derailed in Arizona on Wednesday was carrying hazardous materials, although that information was later corrected.
The Huffington Gt