Train carrying crude oil derails, burns north of Seattle

Train Carrying Crude Oil Derails, Burns North Of Seattle
A Washington state Department of Transportation traffic camera captures an image of a train that derailed north of Seattle, close to the Canadian border on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. Authorities say it was carrying crude oil (HOGP).

BELLINGHAM, Wash. (AP) — A train carrying crude oil derailed Tuesday and caught fire north of Seattle close to the Canadian border, authorities said.

The train derailed in the downtown Custer area, where nearby streets were closed and there was a large response for a fire, Whatcom County officials said on Twitter.

Washington State Patrol Trooper Heather Axtman said on Twitter that all residents and visitors within a half-mile of the derailment needed to evacuate. The Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office said at 1:15 p.m. that officials were the process of evacuating people. Sheriff Bill Elfo told The Seattle Times he doesn’t believe anyone has been injured.

Between three and five tank cars derailed at about 11:40 a.m., BNSF Railway said on Twitter.

“BNSF is working with local authorities to assess and mitigate the situation,” the railway said. “The cause of the incident is under investigation. Our first priority is dealing with any safety issues.”

State traffic cameras showed a large black smoke plume. The interstate was also closed in that area in both directions.

Custer, a small town of several hundred people, is about 100 miles (161 kilometers) north of Seattle near Interstate 5.

No further information was immediately available.