Casselton oil fire still smoldering, evacuation order remains
CASSELTON, N.D. - Crews worked through the night to contain a huge oil-fueled fire caused by a train derailment and collision near here Monday afternoon.
As of 7:45 a.m. Tuesday, three oil cars were still burning, and crews were working to isolate those cars by removing surrounding debris and other cars nearby, said Sgt. Tara Morris of the Cass County Sheriff's Department.
"It's coming to the conclusion, I would say, as far as burning," she said.
The residents that were urged to evacuate the town Tuesday have not yet been told to return to their homes. Morris said about 65 percent of residents complied with the strong recommendation from authorities to leave the area.
Most evacuees stayed with friends and family while some got hotel rooms. Seventeen people spent the night at a temporary shelter in Fargo's Discovery Middle School, according to the American Red Cross.
Because of the massive black plume of smoke created by the blaze, health officials have been testing the air quality in town and at the site of the fire. "The results have been very promising as there are not a lot of contaminants in the air," Morris said.
No one was hurt in the train derailment and subsequent collision and explosions, and hospitals have not seen an influx of patients with respiratory problems, she said.
Officials from the National Transportation Safety Board have arrived in Fargo and plan to investigate the crash over the next week and attempt to determine the cause.