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Washington senator calls for investigation into Custer train derailment

Railroad employees reportedly told Senator Doug Erickson they believe the tracks were sabotaged. Now Erickson is calling for state Senate hearings on the incident.

A Washington state senator is calling for an investigation into a fiery train derailment in Custer which happened in December 2020. 

Ten cars on an oil train headed to a refinery in Ferndale derailed, and five caught fire. More than 100 people were forced to evacuate within a half-mile radius of the crash.

The National Transportation Safety Board released its report on the incident on Thursday. NTSB officials said their report focused solely on how the derailed tank cars performed in the crash. The NTSB report said dozens were evacuated and about 29,000 gallons of crude oil were discharged. 

The report said nine of the 10 derailed cars had been enhanced to industry standards. The FBI has yet to release the results of its investigation.

Washington state Senator Doug Erickson said individuals working in the railroad industry told him they believe the tracks were sabotaged. He noted that two individuals were arrested weeks before the derailment accused of tampering with the tracks.

"These things cannot be allowed to happen. And I want to see action from the FBI and from other federal agencies that are very firm and very fast moving forward if this did indeed occur," Erickson said.

He said state lawmakers should hear from the employees who suspect sabotage, and he also wants tougher punishments for sabotaging train tracks. 

The FBI said they could not release any details into their investigation of the incident, as it remains ongoing. 


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