oil-train-railA 90-car train carrying crude oil derailed and exploded in a rural area of western Alabama early on Friday, leaving 11 cars burning and potentially bolstering the push for tougher regulation of a boom in moving oil by rail.

No injuries have been reported, but 20 of the train’s cars derailed and 11 were still on fire, the train owner, Genesee & Wyoming, said in a statement. Those cars, which threw flames 300 feet into the night sky, are being left to burn down, which could take up to 24 hours.

Read the complete story at Reuters.

A preliminary report by the National Transportation Safety Board June 12 found that the Rosedale intersection where a CSX train derailed and exploded last month had no active warning lights or gates.

In addition, two yellow stop signs “had faded significantly, and both had been displaced from their original mountings,” the report stated.

Read the full story at Dundalk Patch.


UPDATE: Fire officials said at 10:30 p.m., Pacific time, Wednesday, Aug. 24, that the effort to siphon the remaining propane from the burning tank car has been successful and that the evacuation order should be rescinded before dawn Aug. 25.

LINCOLN, Calif. – A tank car filled with 29,000 pounds of liquid propane was on fire Wednesday afternoon, Aug. 24, in a propane company facility here and thousands of nearby residents have been evacuated in this Sacramento suburb out of fear of an explosion.

Lincoln Fire Chief Dave Whitt is quoted by MSNBC that a buildup of heat could lead to an explosion compared to a “small thermal nuclear bomb” that produces a fireball several hundred yards wide and which could expel metal shrapnel for a mile.

Firefighters reportedly were aiming four fire hoses on the tank car to keep the heat from building.

An additional 170,000 pounds of liquid propane stored in the yard is reported to be at risk of catching fire, and a natural gas pipeline runs nearby.

The Associated Press reports 4,800 homes are in the mandatory evacuation area and firefighters were attempting to siphon propane from the tank car in what was described as a “bold maneuver.” A national response team from Houston, Texas, was flown to the site to assist firefighters.

Local news reports say the blaze, in the yard of Northern Propane Energy, could continue for 21 days if the remaining propane is not siphoned from the tank car or if the blaze cannot be extinguished. Local schools have been closed until Monday.

MSNBC reports a similar propane tank car fire and explosion in Kingman, Ariz., in 1973 killed 11 firefighters and a gas company worker.

KCRA television reports Lincoln, a town of 40,000, has been turned into “a ghost town with empty streets and no signs of life.”

MSNBC reports that the effort to siphon the propane involves cutting the outer layer of the tanker and welding a pipe to the side, with stem then pushed inside to force out propane into a freshly dug basin.

Retired UTU General Secretary & Treasurer Dan Johnson lives about 1.5 miles from the fire and about 1/2 mile outside the evacuation zone. Johnson said he and his wife, Jan, are not affected by the fire and that they were following events via local televsion news reporting.