A train carrying ethanol derailed on Thursday morning, due to which several coaches caught fire, forcing nearby residents to evacuate their homes as a precaution in Minnesota, United States, as per a report in CNN.
Approximately 22 coaches derailed, according to a statement from BNSF Railway. The US Environmental Protection Agency added that the fire continued to burn more than 14 hours after the accident. The department stated that four ethanol-containing vehicles "ruptured, caught fire" continued to blaze on Thursday morning and issued a warning that additional cars "may also release" ethanol.
According to the agency, the four burning vehicles contained "denatured ethanol" - ethanol that was intended to be used as a fuel additive. Furthermore, crews were determining the effects on "the three remaining denatured ethanol cars."
It is to be noted that due to its high flammability, ethanol exposure can cause coughing, lightheadedness, ocular burning, drowsiness and even unconsciousness.
As per a press release from the Kandiyohi County Sheriff's Office, the train overturned just before 1 am in Raymond. It stated that homes within a half-mile of the accident were evacuated. "There have been no injuries as a result of the crash or emergency response," they said on Facebook.
Around noon, the authorities lifted the evacuation order and residents were asked to return safely to their homes.
The US Environmental Protection Agency announced that it was keeping an eye on BNSF's environmental monitoring activities as well as monitoring the air for volatile organic compounds and particulate matter. "EPA has not found any (particulate matter) levels of concern in the community and so far, low levels below health concerns of (volatile organic compounds) have been detected only immediately downwind of the cars in a non-populated area," they said in a press release.