School bus drivers are assisting with the evacuation of the southern Minnesota town of Ellendale subsequent a train derailment Friday morning on the community’s south side.
Based on the Union Pacific Railroad, four UPRR rail cars derailed at around 5:45 a.m. At least one rail car was transporting liquid petroleum gas, which is certainly flammable.
Currently, Highway 30 is shut down at Interstate 35 west of Ellendale. It will continue to be closed until the area is cleared. Motorists who need to utilize Highway 30 west of I-35 can utilize Exit 32 at Hope and follow Steele County Road 14.
The evacuation order came at the time school buses were headed out to pick up students in the New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva district. School superintendent Dale Carlson states the inquire for evacuation came around 6:45 a.m.
“Myself, our transportation coordinator, our elementary principal, our lead driver, we’ve all been here working this morning since a little before 7,” said Carlson. “When that request was put out there is no question we would help out with that.”
All classes are terminated in the New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva school district, which has two buildings. The district’s elementary school building is in Ellendale, and Carlson states it’s not far from where the derailment occurred.
Based on the Steele County Sheriff’s Office, there are no known injuries in the train derailment and multiple agencies are going door-to-door for a precautionary evacuation.
UPRR claims the train was heading from South St. Paul to North Platte, Nebraska. The UPRR’s Hazardous Materials Management Team is currently on site coordinating with first responders from the Ellendale Volunteer Fire Department. The Minnesota Chemicals Assessment crew is also responding and will assist.
“Union Pacific’s priority is identifying the cause of the leak and maintaining it to preserve public safety. More details will be available in the coming hours. The incident’s cause is under investigation,” UPRR stated.
A command center working the derailment is set up at Ellendale United Methodist Church on the west side of town. Evacuees are welcome at the church, authorities stated.
Ellendale has about 700 inhabitants.
This is a developing story.
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