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Report: Union claims sabotage in fiery oil-train derailment in Whatcom County

The tanker train hauling crude oil derailed near Custer on Dec. 22. 2020.

Editor’s note: The video above was originally published in December 2020.

A rail union official reportedly told investigators that a fiery oil car train derailment north of Seattle late last year was caused by sabotage.

Seven train cars carrying crude oil derailed and five caught fire in Custer, Washington, on Dec. 22, 2020, sending a large plume of black smoke into the sky close to the Canadian border.

There were no injuries in the derailment about 100 miles north of Seattle.

KUOW reports that an official with the union representing the driver told authorities the derailment was not an accident. The incident happened near where two people had been arrested a month before and accused of attempting a terrorist attack on train tracks to disrupt plans for a natural gas pipeline.

A spokesperson for BNSF Railway said in December that two workers were on the train at the time of the derailment, and the train included over 100 cars. The train was traveling to a refinery in Ferndale.

The derailment prompted a joint response, including the FBI, Washington State Utilities and Transportation Commission, Washington State Patrol, Whatcom County Emergency Management, and local fire agencies. 

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