A train carrying crude oil derailed and caught fire on Tuesday in Washington state near the Canadian border, prompting a major emergency response and temporarily forcing the closure of Interstate 5 in both directions.
Authorities lifted an evacuation order Tuesday evening 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 Trooper Heather Axtman said in a news conference. Seven cars derailed and five of them caught fire, according to the state’s Department of Ecology. Authorities are investigating the cause of the incident.
“Everyone’s in danger at a scene like this, but fortunately there were no injuries,” Whatcom County Sheriff Bill Elfo said at a news 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 dealing with any safety issues. We will provide additional details as they become available.
Interstate 5 was closed in both directions before reopening at 2 p.m., according to the state’s Department of Transportation.
U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen, a senior member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, said he was concerned about the derailment.
“I worked closely with the Obama administration to create strong rules to make the transport of oil by rail safer. Clearly there may be more work to do,” Larsen said on Twitter.
Custer has roughly 130 residents, according to U.S. Census Bureau data.
Contributing: The Associated Press