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BLET Safety Task Force dispatched to North Dakota oil train fire, Louisiana derailment

CLEVELAND, December 31 -- The BLET Safety Task Force has dispatched two teams of responders to assist the National Transportation Safety Board with investigations following derailments in Casselton, N.D., and Keithville, La.

On December 30, a BNSF Railway grain train derailed and a train traveling in the opposite direction carry crude oil struck the derailment and derailed. There was a significant post-crash fire, which sparked the evacuation of 2,300 residents within a five-mile radius of the derailment site. BLET Safety Task Force responder D.B. Kenner, Division 195 (Forsyth, Mont.), is representing BLET as part of the NTSB investigation. The wind chill factor at the accident scene is expected to be about 34 degrees below zero.

Also on December 30, a Union Pacific train collided with a parked BNSF train near Keithville, La. Multiple crew members were injured, according to media reports. BLET Safety Task Force responders Russell Elley, Division 197 (San Antonio, Texas) and Timothy Dickerson, Division 216 (Tampa, Fla.) are representing the BLET during the NTSB investigation.

The BLET Safety Task Force assists federal agencies in the investigation of rail accidents, helping to determine probable causes and making safety recommendations. The STF will study the accident from the viewpoint of locomotive engineers and trainmen to help determine how the accident occurred and how to prevent similar accidents from happening in the future.

The NTSB will handle release of details regarding these derailments as the on-site investigation unfolds.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013
bentley@ble-t.org

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