Explosions and Fire Used For Ellendale Derailment Cleanup
Ellendale, MN (KROC-AM News) - A spectacular fire was ignited near a south-central Minnesota town early Saturday to clear away the remaining liquid propane in a tanker car damaged in a train derailment early Friday morning.
The Rochester Fire Department HAZMAT team was at the site to monitor the process and make sure conditions were safe before crews began the so-called “vent and burn” procedure.
Rochester Fire Department Deputy Chief Steve Belau says the Union Pacific Railroad brought in a specially-trained team to basically set off explosions in the damaged rail car that would cause the remaining fuel to safely burn off. He says it’s a last resort measure used in cases where the terrain or other conditions make it impossible to safely recover flammable pressurized gas left inside tanks after an accident.
The LP car was one of 22 rail cars on a Union Pacific train that left the tracks just outside of Ellendale. A rupture in the tanker created a potentially explosive plume of gas that prompted the evacuation of the entire town of about 700 people for around 6 hours. No injuries were reported.