Rail union: Sabotage caused Washington oil-train derailment

National News

A firefighter sprays foam on burning, derailed train cars Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020, in Custer, Wash. Officials say seven train cars carrying crude oil derailed and five caught fire north of Seattle and close to the Canadian border. Whatcom County officials said the derailment occurred in the downtown Custer area, where streets were closed and evacuations ordered during a large fire response. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

SEATTLE (AP) — A rail union official reportedly told investigators that a fiery oil car train derailment north of Seattle late last year was caused by sabotage.

Seven train cars carrying crude oil derailed and five caught fire in Custer, Washington, on Dec. 22, 2020, sending a large plume of black smoke into the sky close to the Canadian border.

Two people were on board the 108-car train headed from North Dakota to the Ferndale Refinery, owned by Phillips 66.

There were no injuries in the derailment.

The incident happened near where two people had been arrested a month before and accused of attempting a terrorist attack on train tracks to disrupt plans for a natural gas pipeline.

Washington state sees millions of gallons of crude oil move by rail through the state each week, coming from North Dakota and Alberta.

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