Minn. Residents Evacuated after Train Carrying Ethanol and Corn Syrup Derails and Catches Fire

Authorities were still working to contain the blaze, while residents within a half-mile were evacuated

A Burlington Northern Santa Fe train carrying ethanol and corn syrup derailed in rural Minnesota early Thursday morning, resulting in the evacuation of nearby residents after several cars caught fire.

Authorities are currently reporting no injuries in the incident, which occurred in the small town of Raymond, about 100 miles west of Minneapolis, at approximately 1 a.m. local time.

Lena Kent, general director of public affairs for BNSF Railway, told PEOPLE that 22 cars derailed and four caught on fire.

"BNSF field personnel are onsite to assess the derailment site and are working closely with local first responders," Kent said. "The main track is blocked and an estimated time for reopening the line is not available. The cause of the incident is under investigation."

First responders on the scene discovered that "numerous cars" from the train had derailed and caught on fire, according to the Kandiyohi County Sheriff's Office.

Homes within a half-mile of the derailment were evacuated, the sheriff's office said, while multiple fire agencies were still working to contain the blaze at around 7 a.m. CT.

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This photo provided KSTP, emergency personnel respond to the scene of a train derailment early in Raymond, Min.
AP/Shutterstock

Residents and businesses impacted by the incident can contact 866-243-4784 for assistance, Kent said.

Thursday's incident comes just days after a Canadian Pacific train derailed in rural North Dakota and leaked liquid asphalt, and on Tuesday, a freight train carrying iron ore derailed in California's Mojave Desert.

Train safety and the environmental impact of such derailments are top-of-mind for authorities after a Norfolk Southern train derailed in early February, resulting in health concerns for residents in East Palestine, Ohio, and the deaths of over 40,000 aquatic animals, authorities said.

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