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Emergency crews ready for possible train accident

By Kevin Lessard, KCFW Reporter, klessard@kcfw.com
Published On: Dec 31 2013 05:39:09 PM MST
Updated On: Dec 31 2013 05:59:24 PM MST
KALISPELL, Mont. -

It could be seen from miles away. Two BNSF freight trains carrying crude oil collided in North Dakota, setting off a massive explosion.

"We were taking a nap and then all of the sudden we heard this big boom and we ran outside and we'd seen black smoke and then orange smoke," said one witness in North Dakota.

In Flathead County, Whitefish sees a lot of train activity at the train station in town.

Flathead County Sheriff Chuck Curry tells us accidents have occurred here before and the county has a plan of action in case an incident were to occur again. Curry said the county has plans for multiple scenarios involving trains including mass casualties, hazardous spills and train derailments.

Plans for possible incidents vary for each type, but most include evacuations for surrounding areas and medical personnel tending to those in need of immediate help.

Curry says you can never be over-prepared, and emergency services are ready if needed.

"There are always secondary concerns such as environmental impact, any long-term, long-lasting effects, but initially our response is always geared around how do we take care of the people that have just been involved and how do we protect the safety of those who could potentially may be affected," Curry said.