As many as 30,000 gallons of gas spilled
By Darrell Ehrlick DAILY MONTANAN
Between 28,000 and 30,000 gallons of gasoline spilled late Friday evening when a BNSF freight train derailed and 15 cars went off the rail tracks in southern Montana, about a half-mile from Bridger in Carbon County.
Crews may have been helped, in part by rain falling, which lessened the danger of an explosion. Four residences were given an evacuation order, but no one living nearby chose to depart. No injuries, including two train crew members, have been reported.
What caused the train to derail is still under investigation, according to Carbon County Disaster and Emergency Services.
Maggie Karas, Public Information Officer for the County, said that the gasoline spilled exclusively on railroad property and BNSF hazmat crews have been on the scene since the accident, as well as different environmental clean-up companies working to contain the spill.
“Over the next three to four weeks, workers will continue to monitor environmental issues, repair damage to the adjacent private property, and complete a remediation plan for the site,” Karas said.
Not every rail car involved in the accident was leaking. One of the gasoline tankers was ruptured and almost the entire car emptied. A second gasoline-hauling tanker was able to be repaired before losing all of its contents.
Initial responders to the scene were Clark’s Fork Rural Fire Department, Carbon County Sheriff’s Office, Carbon County Disaster and Emergency Services, BNSF Police and Bridger Police.
The BNSF Hazmat team will complete a final measurement that will more closely detail how many gallons spilled.
The four residences that were given an evacuation notice were within approximately a half mile of the spill.
The Montana Department of Environmental Quality will monitor groundwater and soil test results to ensure they meet regulatory standards, Karas said.