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News / Northwest

Train carrying molten sulfur derails in Whatcom County, BNSF investigation underway

By Jack Belcher, The Bellingham Herald
Published: June 5, 2024, 3:45pm

BELLINGHAM — An investigation is underway after a train derailed in Whatcom County on Tuesday night.

The train, which was carrying molten sulfur, derailed around 10:45 p.m. near Custer. Six cars were derailed in the incident, according to BNSF.

No injuries or spills were initially reported, according to Chief Jason Van der Veen with North Whatcom Fire and Rescue.

“Our Division of Emergency Management has processes in place to support first responders in events such as this,” said Sheriff Donnell “Tank” Tanksley in a news release about the incident. “Our priority is always life safety, and it is gratifying that there was and is no risk to the public from this event.”

There are also no reports of damage to private property, Van der Veen told The Bellingham Herald.

BNSF employees and North Whatcom Fire and Rescue arrived to investigate the cause around midnight, Van der Veen told The Herald.

BNSF is leading the ongoing investigation. The Herald has reached out to BNSF, the Washington Department of Ecology, the Federal Railroad Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board for more information.

“We will continue to monitor developments, and respond as appropriate,” Tanksley said in the news release.

Portal Way between Valley View and Arnie Road is closed due to the derailment and is expected to remain closed for the rest of the day, according to a Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office Facebook post.

Correction: A prior version of this story incorrectly identified the cargo carried by the derailed train. The train was carrying sulfur. This information was corrected at 12:13 p.m. on June 5, 2024.