Railroads busy as oil production rises in Western North DakotaFargo, ND (WDAY TV) - North Dakota's Bakken blitz has the production and transportation of oil through the state, at an all-time high.
By: Kay Cooley, WDAY
Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - North Dakota's Bakken blitz has the production and transportation of oil through the state, at an all-time high.
That raises concerns about those potentially explosive trains derailing.
It's exactly what happened in Alabama recently.
A train carrying North Dakota crude left the tracks and exploded in western Alabama.
20 of the 90 cars derailed, and a number of them caught fire, but no one was hurt.
Fargo firefighters want to make sure they're ready if anything goes wrong here.
Right now 80 BNSF trains travel through Fargo in a 24 hour period, that's up from about 70 five years ago.
And BNSF officials tell me with all the growth out West, a greater number of them are hauling crude oil.
Because more hazardous materials are transported across the tracks, BNSF is holding special hazmat training for Fargo fire department.
A group of firefighters trained today to learn the best practices when preparing for and responding to hazardous transportation incidents, like train derailments causing oil spills and explosions.
Luckily, nothing major has happened here yet.
But firemen say they want to be on track, if something should.
Jason Ness/Fargo Fire Captain: “Increased oil activity has increased the amount of hazardous materials that do come through our city, but the city tries to stay on top of it.”
Amy McBeth/BNSF Spokesperson: “Any incident with hazardous materials is very, very rare. In fact, 99.99% of hazardous materials make it to their destination without any incident. But we understand that we want to be prepared should something happen, even though that's a very rare chance.”
BNSF is required by federal law to haul hazardous materials.
And Fargo fire department has a special hazmat team that trains monthly.