October 26, 2016 10:38 AM
No injuries were reported after officials said a crude oil train and a semi-truck full of flour collided late Sunday afternoon.
The incident occurred around noon at the intersection of Hastings Avenue and 1st Street, near the border of St. Paul Park and Newport.
According to officials, while the crude oil train remained intact, the crash tore a hole in the side of the semi's trailer, spilling flour on the road.
St. Paul Park Mayor Keith Franke, who was at the scene, said incidents such as this are why the city is working to close the intersection to traffic.
BNSF Railway operates the train involved in the crash. According to Amy McBeth, with BNSF, the train intersection where the incident occurred had flashing lights to warn cars of passing trains, however, it did not have crossing arms to block traffic from driving over the tracks.
McBeth added that part of the ongoing investigation is determining whether the flashing lights were active at the time of the crash.
Government officials consider the railroad crossing to be one of the more dangerous in the state. It is high on Gov. Mark Dayton's priority list to reconfigure it with safety improvements.
The reason officials consider it to be a dangerous crossing is the high volume of crude oil train traffic on the tracks and the correlating high number of semi trucks that cross the tracks due to the crossing's placement in a commercial and industrial zone. The crossing also sits next to one of the state's oil refineries.
State Rep. Dan Schoen (DFL-St. Paul Park) told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS, "We dodged a bomb today. We were lucky the truck was only carrying flour. If it had been something more volatile, it could have been much worse."
Rep. Schoen said approximately 3,500 individuals live near the crossing and hundreds more work around it every day in the commercial and industrial zone.
Rebecca Omastiak & Jay Kolls
Updated: October 26, 2016 10:38 AM
Created: June 07, 2015 05:18 PM
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