MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — When the railroads were just getting going, trains carried people and supplies and that’s how towns were built. Now, trains carry dangerous oil freight, and the small town residents along the tracks are worried.
WCCO’s Jennifer Lewerenz continues our five-part series Tracking Danger: Minnesota’s Crude Reality.
Rice is a sleepy town of about 1,200 people, but every 15 minutes or so, trains come flying through the heart of it at 50 mph. These trains are carrying a variety of freight, but much of it is oil from the Bakken Oil Fields in North Dakota.
City Fire Chief Scott Janski is in charge of a 24-man volunteer fire crew and says a derailment would overwhelm their department and worries about their ability to respond.
“If things were going bad, they’d be taking care of their families, and it may be where we’re calling someone else to take care of our problem,” Janski said.