Tanker truck catches fire after collision with train
CALLAWAY -- A northwest Minnesota town of about 200 people was evacuated Thursday after a Canadian Pacific train struck a tanker truck carrying propane.
CALLAWAY - A northwest Minnesota town of about 200 people was evacuated Thursday after a Canadian Pacific train struck a tanker truck carrying propane.
“A substantial amount” of propane was being hauled by the truck, which caught fire, Becker County Sheriff Todd Glander said.
About 3:30 p.m. Thursday, fire crews were pouring water on the still-burning tanker in Callaway, about 12 miles north of Detroit Lakes. Firefighters were trying to make sure “nothing bigger comes out of this than it already is,” Glander said. The train cars were not on fire.
About 12:25 p.m., the northbound train hauling empty railcars collided with the truck on the southwest edge of Callaway, causing seven empty railcars and one locomotive to derail, Canadian Pacific spokesman Andy Cummings said in a statement.
The train crew was seen by medical staff, with one person being taken to Essentia Health St. Mary’s in Detroit Lakes with injuries that were not serious, Glander said. The truck driver declined medical attention, the sheriff said.
“We were very lucky on that,” Glander said.
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety said in a news release that two members of the train crew were taken to Essentia for medical treatment.
The collision was at the train crossing at 280th Street, less than half a mile from a propane storage tank near the town’s elevator. Cummings said the railroad will investigate the crash, focusing on how the truck ended up on the tracks at the time it did.
A stretch of U.S. Highway 59 was closed and residents of Callaway were evacuated as a precaution.
All traffic was detoured east of Callaway using County Road 14, County Road 21 and County Road 26, a spokesman for the Minnesota Department of Transportation said. Highway 59 will remain closed until further notice, said Jerimiah Moerke, the MnDOT spokesman.
A control center was set up at the Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church just north of Callaway to deal with the emergency. The Becker County Sheriff’s Department, the Detroit Lakes Police Department, the Minnesota State Patrol, the White Earth Police Department and several fire crews are on the scene, as are crews from Canadian Pacific.
Brian Shawn, a spokesman for the American Red Cross, said volunteers will be setting up a shelter for residents at the church, where food and water will be made available. He said the organization does not anticipate the need to shelter evacuees overnight.
“We don’t think it will go overnight, but we’re preparing just in case it does,” Shawn said Thursday.