Minot, North Dakota, Train Derailment

A deadly train derailment in Minot, North Dakota, on January 18, 2002 caused a massive anhydrous ammonia leak.

February 25, 2002

For further inquiries about the train derailment, feel free to contact Philip Sieff at 1.800.553.9910 or send him an e-mail by clicking on this link: contact us.

A deadly train derailment occurred in Minot, North Dakota, on January 18, 2002. The derailment occurred at 1:40 a.m. C.S.T. on the western outskirts of Minot, resulting in a massive anhydrous ammonia leak. A total of 31 cars derailed in the incident. Fifteen (15) tankers were carrying the anhydrous ammonia, each carrying 30,000 gallons. At least 7 of the tankers completely ruptured, releasing over 200,000 gallons of anhydrous ammonia. Much of the chemical vaporized in the sub-zero air, forming a toxic cloud that drifted over much of Minot in the early morning hours. As a result of the spill of anhydrous ammonia, one man died and numerous others were treated for chemical exposure. A large number of residents living near the derailment site were evacuated.

The derailment is under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board. The initial conclusion of the National Transportation Safety Board is that the train derailed due to rail separation.

Medical literature indicates that exposure to anhydrous ammonia can lead to nasopharyngeal and tracheal burns, bronchial and alveolar edema, and airway destruction. It can also cause skin burns and related skin conditions, including dermatitis. Long-term consequences can include chronic lung disease from inhalation, cough, asthma, and lung fibrosis. Ulceration and perforation of the cornea can occur months and weeks after exposure to the anhydrous ammonia, and blindness may ensue. Cataracts and glaucoma are also potential effects. Competent medical care should be sought if symptoms develop after exposure to anhydrous ammonia.

Lawyers with Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi L.L.P. are presently investigating the cause of the derailment and the long-term health affects to those exposed to the anhydrous ammonia.

The articles on our website include some of the publications and papers authored by our attorneys, both before and after they joined our firm. The content of these articles should not be taken as legal advice. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views or official position of Robins Kaplan LLP.


Related Publications

November 22, 2022
November 19, 2022
How to Use the USPTO Patent Public Search Tool
Miles Finn, Rajin Olson, Kelson Bain, and Ian LaForge - IPWatchdog
November 15, 2022
Briefly: Behind the Veil of Judicial Recusal
Eric Magnuson - Minnesota Lawyer
November 1, 2022
Briefly: 'Extraordinary Circumstances' For Relief from Judgment
Eric Magnuson, Brandon Carmack - Minnesota Lawyer
Third Quarter
ANDA Approvals
GENERICally Speaking Hatch Waxman Bulletin
Back to Top