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BNSF train derailment spills diesel fuel on tribal land in Washington

Two BNSF trains derailed Thursday in separate incidents in Arizona and Washington state, with the latest spilling diesel fuel on tribal land along Puget Sound.

No injuries were reported. It was not clear what caused the derailment.

The derailment in Washington occurred on a berm along Padilla Bay, on the Swinomish tribal reservation near Anacortes. Most of the 5,000 gallons (nearly 19,000 liters) of spilled diesel fuel seeped into the land side of the berm instead of into the water, according to the state Department of Ecology.

Authorities said there were no indications the spill reached the water or affected wildlife.

Lifeguards placed a barrier along the shoreline as a precaution and removed the remaining fuel from two derailed locomotives. Four tank cars remained upright.

The derailment in western Arizona, near the state’s border with California and Nevada, involved a train carrying corn syrup. A Mohave County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman, Anita Mortensen, said she was not aware of any spills or leaks.

BNSF spokeswoman Lena Kent said about eight cars derailed in Arizona and were blocking the main road. The cause of the derailment was under investigation and it was not immediately known when the track would reopen.

The derailments occurred amid heightened attention to rail safety across the country following a vicious derailment last month in Ohio and a series of derailments since then that have grabbed headlines, including those in Michigan , Alabama and other states.

The US averages about three train derailments a day, according to federal data, but relatively few create disasters.

Last month, A freight train carrying dangerous chemicals derailed in East Palestine, Ohio, near the Pennsylvania border, starting a fire and prompting the evacuation of hundreds of people.

Officials seeking to prevent a runaway explosion intentionally released and burned toxic vinyl chloride from five train cars, sending flames and black smoke into the sky. That left people questioning the potential health impacts, even when the authorities maintained that they were doing everything possible to protect people.