PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A train towing a highly volatile type of oil derailed Friday in Oregon’s scenic Columbia River Gorge, igniting a fire that sent a plume of black smoke into the sky and spurring evacuations and road closures.
Eleven cars derailed Friday in the 96-car Union Pacific train and the railroad said several caught fire. The crash released oil alongside tracks that parallel the Columbia River.
All the cars on the train traveling to Tacoma, Washington, from Eastpoint, Idaho, were carrying Bakken oil, which is more flammable than other varieties because it has a higher gas content and vapor pressure and lower flash point.
The accident immediately drew reaction from environmentalists who said oil should not be transported by rail, particularly along a river that is a hub of recreation and commerce.
“Moving oil by rail constantly puts our communities and environment at risk,” said Jared Margolis, an attorney at the Center