With a heavy rush of floodwater that has caused extensive damage throughout the state, a freight train carrying hazardous materials has been derailed in the Yellowstone River in Montana.
On Saturday morning, a reporter said they had witnessed a yellow liquid pouring out of tank cars, prompting emergency services and administrators to respond to the hazardous material spill.
David Stamey, Stillwater County’s chief of emergency services, said he did not believe there was an immediate danger to the crews working on the scene, however they were monitoring the situation closely due to the high waters diluting the chemicals.
The train crew were reported safe and no injuries were reported after the bridge collapse, according to a statement from Andy Garland, spokesman of the Montana Rail Link. Federal Railroad Administrators officials were also at the scene.
The site is located in a rural area 110 miles northeast of Yellowstone National Park, near the town of Columbus. Kelly Hitchcock, a member of the Columbus Water Users team, further safeguarded potential risks by cutting off the flow of river water from the irrigation ditch.
Yellowstone County has instituted emergency practices over the ‘potential hazmat spill’ and requested locals living nearby to not waste water. Toxins being transported on the derailed train included asphalt and sulfur, two compounds that have both environmental and health risks.
Sulfur is an element commonly used as a fertilizer but can also be a poison when exposed to certain living organisms.
The cause of the bridge collapse is currently being investigated by the the Montana Disaster Emergency Services and Federal Railroad Administrators, while implications for the environment are surveyed.