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Derailed train in St. Paul dumps 3,500 gallons of diesel fuel into Mississippi River

August 8, 2018

A Union Pacific railroad train derailed on a St. Paul bridge connecting two rail yards, puncturing a tanker and causing 3,500 gallons of diesel fuel to dump into the Mississippi River early Wednesday.

The rail company has put four booms into the water to try to soak up the spill, including one as far as eight miles down river, according to spokeswoman Kristen South. Although fuel was detected at that point, none has been found beyond it, she said.

Union Pacific also has boats on the river sucking up pockets of fuel, she said. There were no injuries.

The U.S. Coast Guard closed the river at the bridge, according to a spokesman. The spill occurred at mile 835.7, which is near Pigs Eye Lake in Ramsey County.

Two trains on the bridge derailed, with wheels dislodging from the track, but they did not tip over, South said. The company hasnt determined the cause of the derailment, but the bridge is closed for now.

The Hoffman Bridge, which opened in 1910, is also called the Chicago North Western Bridge. The bridge is 1,275 feet long and sits 20 feet above the river. The bridge is mostly hidden by trees, but is near the St. Paul Downtown Airport.

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and the federal Environmental Protection Agency are both on scene but officials didnt return calls.

Rochelle Olson 612-673-1747 Twitter: @rochelleolson

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