Photo from the Minot Daily News shows the scene
of the derailment that killed one local resident and injured
two rail crew members.
MINOT, N.D. -- Crews worked
steady Sunday removing rail cars from the site of a deadly
derailment approximately one mile west of Minot in the Tierricita
Vallejo neighborhood, the Minot Daily News reports.
accident happened shortly after 1:40 a.m. Friday and left a thick
cloud of anhydrous ammonia over much of Minot that has been dubbed
the "death cloud" by many local residents.
The scene of the
derailment was very orderly Sunday, with dozens of workers scattered
everywhere in the vicinity of the accident.
included Canadian Pacific Railway employees, National Transportation
Safety Board workers, general contractors and local and state
emergency and health officials. CP Rail workers escorted the media
to the site Sunday, but limited reporters to a distance of a couple
hundreds yards from the tracks, in addition to requiring them to
stay in the vehicle they rode in.
The stinging smell of
anhydrous ammonia was not apparent until a person came within a
couple hundred yards of the train tracks.
Dozens of large
semi trucks, payloaders, pickup trucks and other vehicles stood on
both sides of the makeshift road leading up to the tracks. Many of
the semi trucks had "oversized load" signs on them and were sitting
Closer up to the scene of the accident, there were
empty, mangled rail cars that once contained anhydrous ammonia or
another type of fertilizer, piles of train axles, dirt and sets of
new track that were set aside and ready to be put in place after the
train wreckage is removed from the scene.
Workers on or next
to the railroad tracks wore gas masks and protective gear and were
busy helping remove train cars or inspecting the site.
all of the workers were wearing gas masks, only the ones who were
very close to the tracks.
Special cranes were on the scene to
lift cars off of the tracks and semis equipped with tankers were
used to transfer anhydrous ammonia out of the train cars. Once the
anhydrous ammonia was drained from the cars, it was then hauled
According to Ian La Couvee, a public affairs
representative for CP Rail, the entire site could be completely
cleared of wreckage and cleaned up within the next two days. When
the site is cleared, La Couvee said state and local health officials
will determine when people can return to their homes.
take longer than two days, La Couvee said, because railroad
officials are working closely with the NTSB to aid them in their
investigation into the accident.
"The NTSB works very closely
with us because they have to preserve evidence," La Couvee
He added the railroad is also testing soil to determine
the amount of anhydrous ammonia in it. La Couvee said he did not
know how much soil would have to be removed, but that there
definitely will be some soil taken away.
La Couvee said the
railroad will try to get the site back into its original condition.
"We always try to restore the site to the way it was before
the accident," La Couvee said.