Officials: Union Pacific Railroad to blame for fiery oil train d - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Officials: Union Pacific Railroad to blame for fiery oil train derailment in Columbia River Gorge

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Photo: WA Dept of Ecology Photo: WA Dept of Ecology
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MOSIER, Ore. -

Federal officials said Thursday that the railroad company is to blame for fiery oil train derailment earlier this month near Mosier, Oregon saying Union Pacific failed to properly maintain the track.

The wreck spilled 42,000 gallons of crude oil and sparked a fire that burn for 14 hours. Investigators say Union Pacific inspected the tracks just before derailment, but didn't detect the broken bolts that caused the derailment. 

Investigators say more advanced brakes could have reduced the number of tank cars that came off the tracks, preventing the one that burst into flames from being punctured. 

At this time, it is unclear what repercussions Union Pacific could face. 

The Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission say they have a total of eight inspectors; four were hired in the last year.

Local leaders, including Spokane City Council President, Ben Stuckart, have concerns about trains carrying crude oil through downtown.

“The product has not been stabilized,” said Stuckart. “It's coming out of North Dakota and my feeling is until they stabilize that product it's too explosive to be traveling on rail through downtown Spokane.”

Stuckart also says the city has a disaster plan in place in the case of a potential derailment, but that they need to be proactive and make sure they never have to use the plan.

Stuckart has asked federal leaders in Washington D.C. to halt transportation of oil through Spokane until more is known about Bakken oil.

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