A train carrying crude oil derailed and caught fire in Washington state near the Canadian border on Tuesday, triggering a major emergency response and temporarily forcing the closure of Interstate 5 in both directions.
Authorities on Tuesday night lifted an evacuation order for residents of the small town of Custer, about 100 miles north of Seattle.
The train derailed at 11:46 a.m. in Custer, state patrol officer Heather Axtman told a news conference. Seven cars derailed and five of them caught fire, according to the State Department of Ecology. Authorities are investigating the cause of the incident.
“Everyone is in danger in a scene like this, but luckily there were no injuries,” Whatcom County Sheriff Bill Elfo said at a press conference, adding that the fire was under control.
“BNSF is working with local authorities to assess and mitigate the situation,” the company said. “Our first priority is to deal with security issues. We will provide further details as they become available.
Interstate 5 was closed in both directions before reopening at 2 p.m., according to the state Department of Transportation.
U.S. Representative Rick Larsen, a senior member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, expressed concern about the derailment.
“I have worked closely with the Obama administration to create tough rules to make it safer to transport oil by rail. Obviously, there may be more work to be done,” said Feedback said on Twitter.
Custer has about 130 residents, according to data from the US Census Bureau.
Contribute: The Associated Press