WDAY: The News Leader

Published November 13, 2013, 06:26 PM

Oil Production keeps trains busy through Fargo - Moorhead

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - More oil than ever before is coming from the western part of North Dakota.

By: Kay Cooley, WDAY

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - More oil than ever before is coming from the western part of North Dakota.

And after a train carrying oil from the Bakken derailed, and exploded, last week in Alabama.

Fargo firemen want to make sure they're prepared if anything should happen here.

North Dakota's oil fields have been the source of two huge crude oil explosions from train derailments.

Alabama’s is the latest, another in Quebec earlier this year.

And what many people don't realize is those trains, travel right through this town.

If you live in town, you probably hear this sound hourly.

Amy McBeth/BNSF Spokesperson: "here through Fargo there's a wide variety of commodities that are hauled."

80 trains every single day travel these tracks, carrying materials in and out of the metro.

Up from about 70 five years ago.

With more and more coming from the ever-growing Bakken.

McBeth: Crude oil is something that is shipped by BNSF and that has grown over the last few years."

Ness: "I guess every time you have more of something come through your community, you're probably more apt to more problems."

Problems like the explosions in Alabama and Quebec are raising questions about moving oil by rail.

Especially from the Bakken, where crude is believed to be more explosive.

McBeth: "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 just to be safe, BNSF is training about a dozen Fargo firemen on these types of hazardous incidents.

Jason Ness/Fargo Fire Captain: "BNSF is top when it comes to safety."

Taking firefights in and around hazardous materials cars...

Making sure they're right on track, with hands on experience.

McBeth: We understand that we want to be prepared should something happen."

Ness: "Increased oil activity has increased the amount of hazardous materials that do come through our city, but our city tries to stay on top of it."

BNSF is required by federal law to transport hazardous materials.

And Fargo fire department has a special hazmat team that trains monthly, and responds in emergency situations.