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50 coal train cars derail in Pillager, Minn.

PILLAGER, MN — Coal and crushed metal littered the train tracks early Monday as crews worked to clear the scene of a massive train derailment near Pillager.

Fifty train cars carrying coal derailed at about 11:48 p.m. Sunday in Sylvan Township, west of Pillager near County Road 101.

No one was hurt and the incident did not involve any hazardous material or pose a threat to public safety, according to the Cass County Sheriff’s Department.

At about 9 a.m. Monday morning, several cleanup crews were still on scene working to clear the mess.

Coal piled higher than train cars in some places along Hazel Avenue, a normally quiet side street. Train cars sat smashed together. Sounds of crushed metal could be heard as crews worked to clear the massive stretch of coal and metal pieces.

Railroad officials on scene declined to comment.

The derailment has caused some road closures, however, most roads near the area remain unaffected.

Sheriff Burch, from the Cass County Sheriff’s office, requests that residents stay out of the affected area while crews continue with cleanup efforts for the next several days. The investigation continues with the Cass County Sheriff’s Office and BNSF officials.

Becca Clemens
After graduating high school in 2004, I attended Central Lakes College in Staples, MN for 2 years where I got a diploma in Communication Art and Design. I then transfered up to Bemidji State University in, you guessed it, Bemidji, MN. In the spring of 2009, I graduated from BSU. Then in the fall of 2009 I got a job at Echo Publishing, a sister company to the Brainerd Dispatch.