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Crude Oil Train Derails, Explodes In Alabama

The train was composed of 90 train cars, 12 of the cars derailed and 3 exploded.

WVTM-TV: News, Weather, and Sports for Birmingham, AL

There are no reports of injuries caused by a train derailment and explosion in Alabama late Friday night, and only one family was evacuated as a precautionary measure, and have since returned to their home.

Reuters:

"A 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 a number were still on fire on Friday afternoon, local officials said. Those cars, which threw flames 300 feet into the night sky, are being left to burn down, which could take up to 24 hours, according to the train owner, Genesee & Wyoming.

If full, the train, which passes near schools and crosses rivers in the area, could hold up to 65,000 barrels of crude oil, according to Reuters calculations.

A local official said the crude oil had originated in North Dakota, home of the booming Bakken shale patch. If so, it may have been carrying the same type of light crude oil that was on a Canadian train that derailed in the Quebec town of Lac-Megantic this summer, killing 47 people."

The accident occurred in a wetlands area which feeds into the Tombigbee River, and booms were placed in the wetlands to contain the spilled oil.

The most dramatic accident of its kind in the United States since transporting crude by rail began to increase with the growth of shale oil production three years ago, analyst Elana McGovern of Global Energy and Natural Resources analyst at Eurasia Group in Washington said that "It will provide very clear evidence of the potential risks for environmental groups and others opposed to the growth of crude by rail, and will likely increase pressure to tighten regulations."

The cause of the derailment is under investigation, as was the extent of the oil spill.

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