Report cites possible causes of December's fiery oil train derailment in Whatcom County

  • Source: Bellingham Herald - Metered Site
  • Published: 09/11/2021 03:16 AM

A BNSF Railway oil train showed evidence of possible vandalism after it “experienced a broken train collision,” derailed and exploded into flames north of Ferndale last December, according to a report on the accident released Thursday, Sept. 9. In its report, the Federal Railroad Administration said it can’t be certain of the accident’s cause, where 10 tank cars loaded with highly flammable Bakken crude oil jumped the tracks at Portal Way and Main Street shortly before noon Dec. 22, 2020, as the BNSF train headed toward the Phillips 66 refinery at Cherry Point. Three tank cars caught fire and 120 nearby residents were evacuated for several hours as firefighters brought the blaze under control. No injuries were reported. Several contributing causes listed below likely led to the derailment because unlocked coupler pins between two cars caused the train to separate, and closed or partially closed angle cocks prevented emergency braking, the report said.


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