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MOSIER, OR -- A Union Pacific train derailed just after noon, Friday, in the Columbia River Gorge. The train was pulling 11 oil tankers; several caught fire on the tracks paralleling Interstate 84, in Mosier. Officials say there were no injuries, no structures have been lost and, as of 9:30 p.m., no oil had reached nearby waterways.

 

Railroad crews placed three lines of booms across Rock Creek and a containment boom at the mouth of the creek at the Columbia River, as a precaution. They plan to apply foam to the burning rail cars, Saturday morning, to suppress the fire and mitigate any further risk of explosion.

 

Wasco County deputies evacuated nearby residents and the Red Cross opened an evacuation shelter. It's unclear how many utilized the center located at a grade school in The Dalles. Deputies continue to patrol the evacuated area until residents are allowed home.

 

Governor Kate Brown invoked the Emergency Conflagration Act in response to the incident, just after 9:30 p.m. "I am committed to making the necessary resources available to help keep the community of Mosier safe," Governor Brown said in a press release. "Additional water tenders and the coordination efforts of the Oregon State Fire Marshal are crucial elements to assist the firefighters on the ground."

 

I-84 reopened just after 11 p.m., Friday, although on and off ramps at Mosier remain closed, as of Saturday morning. Federal, state, tribal and local authorities are working a command center near the scene, coordinating clean up efforts and the investigation into what happened. 

 

Photos courtesy of the U.S. Coast Guard, which conducted a fly-over to verify whether any oil made it to the water. 

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