A second train derailment in two days occurred in Wisconsin spilling crude oil and prompting some evacuations. At least 10 cars derailed on 8 November in Watertown as it headed eastbound, with some of the cars leaking, Canadian Pacific Railway reported.
According to The Associated Press, no fires or injuries were reported and the company was sending teams to investigate at the site."CP takes this incident extremely seriously," the railroad said in a statement to AP. The company did not specify how much oil was spilled during the crash.
Donna Haugom, director of the Jefferson County Office of Emergency Management, told reporters that residents of around 35 homes were asked to evacuate. CP spokesman Martin Cej described the incident as "minor" to Reuters and said workers were able to stop the leak.
A day earlier, in the morning of 7 November, a BNSF Railway Co freight train derailed two miles north of Alma, near the Minnesota border. Twenty-five cars were derailed in that first incident, causing thousands of gallons of ethanol to leak into the Mississippi River. The railroad said that no injuries were reported and that its crews were able to stop the flow of the denatured alcohol, Reuters reported.
The company said that five of the tanker cars released ethanol into the river. Four of the cars leaked between five and 500 gallons each, with the fifth car releasing an estimated 18,000 gallons before crews were able to staunch the flow. "BNSF is continuing to monitor for environmental impacts and to work on scene with the multiple federal and state agencies involved," the company stated. The railroad is a unit of Warren Buffet's Berkshire Hathaway Inc, Reuters noted.
CBS Minnesota reported that local hunters were the first to realise the train had derailed on 7 November. "The echo was like an echo we never even heard," duck hunter Derrick Bartell said. "We didn't know what it was ... it was the train crashing."
Another hunter, Adam Rogers, told CBS that he went to the river that day to see what had happened for himself. "As we got closer to it, we could see one of the cars was spewing out liquid, and we didn't know what it was," he said. "There was a flammable sign right on [the car], so we know had to be something pretty serious."
According to BSSF, crews in Wisconsin placed a containment boom along the shoreline of the river and began to pump the remaining ethanol out of the derailed cars. CBS Minnesota reported that the spill initially prompted the voluntary evacuation of a half mile area. Despite concluding that the ethanol did not pose a threat, law enforcement decided to keep roads blocked.
The company will begin repairing the track once they are able to pull the derailed cars upright. The track is expected to return to service on 9 November. Clean up and damage assessment at the river began on 8 November, with US Fish and Wildlife Service officials on the scene.