Oregon train derailment spills oil, sparks fire

An aerial view of an oil train derailment in Mosier in the Columbia River Gorge, June 3, 2016 (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Oregon State Police and the Hood River County Sheriff’s Office is assisting with an oil train derailment near Mosier.

Ken Armstrong, spokesman for the Oregon Department of Forestry, says the incident involves eight cars filled with oil and one is burning.

Chopper 6 is over the scene

It’s unknown if there are any injuries but officials with Mid-Columbia Medical Center in The Dalles say no one has come in with injuries, but they are ready to receive patients.

The train is operated by Union Pacific, which hasn’t returned calls.

Silas Bleakley was working at his restaurant in Mosier when the train derailed.

“You could feel it through the ground. It was more of a feeling than a noise,” he said as smoke continued to billow from the tankers.

Bleakley said he went outside, saw the smoke and got in his truck and drove about 2,000 feet to a bridge that crosses the railroad tracks. There, he said he saw tanker cars “accordioned” across the tracks.

Smoke can also be seen from a nearby weather skycam and from the KOIN 6 web cam at Skamania Lodge.

The Oregon Department of Transportation has closed I-84 between Cascade Locks and The Dalles. Traffic should detour to Washington SR 14.

Students at Mosier Elementary School are being evacuated and transported to Wahtonka High School, according to school officials.

An aerial view of the smoke and fire from an oil train derailment in Mosier in the Columbia River Gorge, June 3, 2016 (KOIN)
An aerial view of the smoke and fire from an oil train derailment in Mosier in the Columbia River Gorge, June 3, 2016 (KOIN)

An air quality alert has been issued for Bingen, White Salmon and surrounding areas because of the smoke. People with respiratory issues like asthma or lung disease should stay indoors.

The Federal Railroad Administration says it is aware of the incident and has investigators en route. Portland Airport Fire & Rescue is also headed to the Gorge to supply aid. They are taking a specialized truck that carries about 1,300 gallons of fire suppression foam.

The US Coast Guard will fly a helicopter over the scene to assess environmental damage.

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