Train derailment closes highway, forces evacuations

By Observer staff July 10, 2013 06:04 am

One-hundred gallons of diesel were spilled in a 27-car train derailment near Hot Lake Springs on Highway 203 this morning, according to Oregon State Police Sgt. Kyle Hove.

Hazmat crews have confirmed there are no hazardous materials leaking, other than the diesel fuel, according to a press release.

An eight-mile section of Highway 203 was closed and about a dozen residences plus Hot Lake Hotel and RV Park were evacuated around 2 a.m. Oregon Department of Transportation officials have said the highway is now open to a single lane of travel with flaggers and pilot cars directing traffic near milepost 9.

"Expect delays. Drive with extra caution," ODOT public affairs representative Tom Strandberg said.

The derailment occurred about 1:45 a.m. along a section of Union Pacific Railroad tracks north of Highway 203. No injuries have been reported.

Emergency responding agencies on scene included La Grande Fire Department, Island City Fire Department, Union County Sheriff's Office, Oregon State Police, ODOT, Union Pacific Railroad, and Oregon Regional HazMat Team 10 from Hermiston.