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10 ethanol tanker cars derail, 2 catch fire

Updated Saturday, Sept. 19, 2015 | 6 p.m.

Seven ethanol tanker cars derailed and at least one caught fire Saturday in southeastern South Dakota, according to Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad. The company said no one was hurt.

The 98-car train carrying ethanol derailed about 6:15 a.m. in a rural part of Bon Homme County awash in corn fields between the towns of Scotland and Lesterville, BNSF spokesman Andy Williams said. There were no injuries and no nearby structures were threatened by the fire, he said.

Williams said three tankers were compromised and lost their contents, but crews haven't yet determined which of those three actually caught fire. Officials aren't yet sure what caused the derailment over a small bridge that spans a dry creek.

"It's too early to tell," Williams said. "It will be under investigation."

The derailed tanker cars were near the front of the train, said Lee Rettig of the Bon Homme County Emergency Management Department.

Rettig said one rural road was shut down as firefighters who responded from Scotland, Lesterville, Menno, Tyndall and Tabor worked to extinguish the blaze. It was put out about 2:30 p.m., he said.

BNSF hazardous materials teams responded to help with the cleanup. There are no waterways near the accident scene.

"We'll be assessing any environmental damage," Williams said.

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