Shelter open for those displaced by Luther fire

By John A. Williams Modified: August 22, 2008 at 8:47 pm •  Published: August 22, 2008
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LUTHER — The Red Cross has set up a shelter for those unable to return to their homes in Luther, after a train derailment caused a massive fire northeast of the community this afternoon.

People displaced can go to the First Christian Church of Luther, 415 E First St.

Multiple explosions created giant balls of flame and smoke that could be seen for miles after a Burlington Northern Santa Fe train jumped tracks about 2:30 p.m. near the intersection of Covell and Dobbs roads.

The 110-car train had eight cars carrying crude oil and ethanol, Burlington Northern-Santa Fe spokesperson Joe Faust said. The train was on its way from Tulsa to Temple, Texas. Faust said the two-man crew was not injured.

Even though Faust said there is no threat to residents in the immediate area, a command center was set up for those who could not return to their homes.

Edmond Fire Department spokesperson Tim Wheeler said no fatalities or injuries were reported.

“We're very fortunate it happened in a remote area like this,” he said. “There are no houses in the immediate area.”

Wheeler said firefighters were going to let the let the fire burn itself out before attacking it with fire retardant chemicals.

“Right now, we’re going to sit back. Like I said, we're trying to protect everyone from the area that includes our firefighters. Sometimes in these types of fires, you're not actually going to put them out,” Wheeler said.

A three-mile wide area around the derailment was blocked from traffic as a precaution against any toxic chemicals that could be spread by the wind.

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The location of a train derailment near Luther is detailed in this map by The Oklahoman Graphics.

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