ELLENDALE, Minn. - Evacuation orders have been lifted and residents and business owners are being allowed back into town following a train derailment just outside a small community in southeastern Minnesota Friday morning.
The derailment involves a 146-car Union Pacific train traveling from South St. Paul to North Platte, Nebraska that went off the tracks near the town of Ellendale around 5:45 a.m. From the air it appears nearly 10 cars are involved in the derailment, one of which was carrying Liquid Petroleum Gas, which is highly flammable. Aerial video from SKY 11 shows gas spewing into the air from the pierced tanker.
A spokesperson for Union Pacific says there were no injuries to the crew or the public. Investigators are en route to determine what caused the derailment.
Union Pacific and Ellendale Fire Department hazmat teams are on the scene doing their best to contain the leak, and the town of Ellendale was completely evacuated with residents asked to go to Ellendale United Methodist Church. That evacuation order was lifted around 12:30 p.m., and Steele County Sheriff Lon Thiele told homeowners and business people that they could return. Authorities are keeping a 400-foot radius around the incident scene blocked off for the time being.
Highway 30 into town has been shut down west of Interstate 35. Until it is reopened traffic is asked to detour using exit 32 and Steele County Road 14.
Thiele says federal authorities have also moved to place a 2-mile restriction on airspace above the derailment scene.
School has been canceled for the day at all buildings in the NRHEG Public Schools because the derailment response has blocked all access to the elementary building.
KARE 11 has a crew en route to Ellendale, which is about a half-hour southwest of Owatonna.