March 30 (UPI) — A freight train carrying ethanol and corn syrup derailed in Minnesota early Thursday morning, prompting the evacuation of nearby residents after several rail cars burst into flames.
No injuries were reported after the BNSF Railway train loaded with tankers went off the tracks about 1 a.m. in western Raymond, the Kandiyohi County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.
The accident forced officials to shut down Highway 23 for several miles.
A number of emergency crews from several jurisdictions descended on the crash site along with employees of the train company who were “working closely with local first responders,” the company said in a statement.
Authorities ordered residents within a half-mile of the derailment to evacuate as crews battled the inferno from the crash.
Evacuees were being sheltered at a school in nearby Prinsburg as the situation after daylight remained extremely volatile, officials said.
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz said on Twitter that he had been briefed on the situation and was on his way to survey the damage and meet with concerned residents in light of several other derailments and chemical spills across the U.S. in recent weeks.
“The state stands ready to protect the health and safety of the community,” Walz tweeted Thursday.
U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, who also discussed the incident with Walz, said the Federal Railroad Administration was actively monitoring the situation and preparing to investigate what happened.
The crash follows a series of other high-profile train derailments, including a toxic chemical disaster in East Palestine, Ohio, where a Norfolk Southern train derailed in early February.