No injuries in Custer train derailment


A Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) train derailed near Custer on the 7700 block of Portal Way between Arnie and Valley View roads around 10:45 p.m. June 4.

The Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office (WCSO) didn’t report any loss of life or injury due to the derailment.

No materials were spilled from the six cars that derailed, and there is currently no risk to the public, according to BNSF Railway.

WCSO’s Division of Emergency Management was notified about the train derailment about 11:45 p.m. June 4, and North Whatcom Fire and Rescue (NWFR) and BNSF Railway responded to the incident. BNSF railroad officers “had full control” of the derailed train by 1 a.m. June 5, according to WCSO.

WCSO announced Portal Way between Valley View and Arnie roads would be closed for the remainder of June 5 as the division of emergency management, NWFR and BNSF cleared the railroad and surrounding area.

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

BNSF public affairs director Lena Kent said the company is currently investigating the cause of the derailment. Kent said the main railroad is operational during cleanup.

In December 2020, a train carrying Bakken crude oil derailed in Custer, forcing the evacuation of 120 people and shutting down I-5 for several hours. No injuries were reported in that derailment and investigators considered vandalism a likely factor. 


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