- Associated Press - Wednesday, October 8, 2014

SEATTLE (AP) - About two dozen Seattle firefighters received training Wednesday on responding to incidents involving trains carrying crude oil.

BNSF Railway plans to locate a new mobile foam trailer in Seattle, and about a dozen firefighters got a chance to see how that equipment works at the company’s Seattle rail yard.

Derailments of oil trains have caused explosions in several states and Quebec, raising concerns over safety and environment.

Last week, Gov. Jay Inslee called for lowering speed limits for oil trains and more quickly phasing out older tank cars.

A state draft study recommended more railroad inspectors, increased oil spill equipment and training, and other measures to beef up oil spill response and prevention.

As many as 13 trains, each carrying about 1 million gallons of crude oil, pass through Seattle each week. The trains carry volatile shipments of crude oil from the Bakken region of North Dakota and Montana to refineries in the state.

At the hazmat training, Seattle firefighters got a look at a typical tank car that would carry crude oil and other hazardous materials. They climbed on top of the car, checked out different valves and settings, learned where to look for leaks, and climbed inside.

They also took turns testing the foam trailer, which could be used by BNSF employees, its contractors or Seattle responders to help smother a fire.

BNSF spokesman Gus Melonas says there’s currently a foam trailer in Pasco and Tacoma. He says BNSF and Seattle officials are trying to decide exactly where in Seattle to put the new foam trailer.

Melonas said BNSF will train about 125 Seattle firefighters this week. It will train about 800 first responders in Washington state by the end of the year.

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