A train derailed in Alma Saturday morning, leading to the voluntary evacuation of more than 100 area residents and leaving an unknown amount of ethanol spilling into the Mississippi River.
Buffalo County Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Colin Severson said up to 150 residents were voluntarily evacuated due to the derailment, which happened just north of Alma, directly across from the intersection of Hwy. 35 and County Hwy I.
According to a statement from BNSF Railway, which owns the tracks, a combination of 25 empty auto rack cars and tanker cars, some carrying denatured alcohol, commonly known as ethanol, derailed around 8:45 a.m. Some of the cars derailed into the water, with five of the tanker cars leaking an unknown amount of the chemical into the Mississippi River.
There were no fires or injuries directly associated with the incident, the company said, and there is no threat to the public. It wasn’t known Saturday whether the tankers were actively leaking ethanol, or how long the clean-up efforts were expected to take.
The derailment forced the closure of about seven miles of state Hwy. 35 for most of the day; the road was re-opened to traffic later on Saturday. The voluntary evacuation was also lifted later Saturday for the area.
On the bright side, if there is one, was that they only spilled alcohol and not the volatile crude oil from North Dakota that they usually transport on that railway.
I fully expect that the cause is deferred maintenance, something that Scott Walker is infamous for. I also fully expect that the state will try to cover up the real cause and that the corporate media will be their willing accomplices.