The Enigmatic Ethanol Train Derailment: A Fiery Tale and Evacuation in Minnesota

A Curious Incident Unfolds

In the quaint town of Raymond, Minnesota, the unexpected occurred. Early Thursday morning, a train—laden with ethanol—met a disastrous fate, derailing and bursting into flames. Consequently, a swift evacuation of neighboring citizens ensued.

The Kandiyohi County Sheriff’s Office, having been alerted to this peculiar incident around 1 a.m., promptly took action. BNSF Railway officials later confirmed that a staggering 22 rail cars had derailed, their cargo consisting not only of ethanol but also of corn syrup—a fascinating blend, indeed.

This photo provided KSTP, emergency personnel respond to the scene of a train derailment early Thursday, March 30, 2023 in Raymond, Min. A train hauling ethanol and corn syrup derailed and caught fire and nearby residents were ordered to evacuate their homes, authorities said. (KSTP via AP)

The Inescapable Conflagration

Alas, with ethanol’s notorious propensity for combustion, the inevitable transpired. The derailed tanks were engulfed in a fierce blaze, as the sheriff’s office recounted. A half-mile radius around the catastrophe was deemed an evacuation zone, and law enforcement and EMS personnel valiantly assisted in the relocation process.

Miraculously, no injuries materialized, and an investigation into this perplexing derailment has been initiated. Meanwhile, BNSF Railway lamented the obstruction of the main track, with the timeline for reopening shrouded in uncertainty.

Navigational Tribulations and Continued Efforts

Due to the calamity, the Minnesota Department of Transportation saw fit to temporarily close Highway 23 at Raymond. Travelers bewailed the closure, which spanned between Kandiyohi CR 1 and Chippewa CR 1.

As the morning progressed, BNSF specialists arrived at the scene. By 7 a.m., these experts were diligently working to mitigate the ongoing crisis.

Awaiting the Green Light for Family Reunions

With homes abandoned and families displaced, authorities endeavored to determine when it would be safe for evacuees to return. By 9 a.m., collaboration between local, state, and federal public safety partners was well underway.

A Convergence of Investigative Forces

The enigma of the derailment has attracted the attention of multiple agencies. The National Transportation Safety Board has dispatched a team to delve into the safety aspects of this incident. Furthermore, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg took to Twitter, revealing the Federal Railroad Administration’s presence in Raymond following the train’s unfortunate misadventure.