On March 30th, 2023, at 1 a.m., a Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) train
derailed in Raymond, Minnesota. Two cars containing denatured ethanol, a highly
flammable product, ruptured and caught fire. Seven ethanol cars were in the
derailment pileup and three more were also burning from their lids or bottom
valves. The cars on fire continued to
burn for two days. There were also six other ethanol cars involved in the
derailment that were not in the fire area. The local fire department and law
enforcement ordered a mandatory evacuation of the city.
EPA arrived on scene at 6:30 a.m. to provide air
monitoring at and around the site and throughout the community and to help with
transition to a unified command as the incident evolved. EPA monitored for
particulates and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) downwind and around the
community. Air monitoring supported the lifting of the evacuation at 11:00
although the main highway remained closed. Site cleanup continues under State
of MN oversight.