The North Dakota Department of Health (NDDoH) is monitoring air quality near the town of Heimdal, North Dakota, following a train derailment and fire Wednesday.
The NDDoH advises people with respiratory issues to avoid the smoke from the burning rail cars. Heimdal is located between the cities of Harvey and New Rockford in Wells County.
The Health Department’s primary concern at this time is particulate matter contained in the smoke generated from the fire. High levels of particulate matter may harm the passages of the nose, airways and lungs.
It may cause shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, coughing, itching, red or watery eyes, and black mucous. The smoke plume is not dispersing well because of current weather conditions. Much of the smoke is remaining close to the ground, where it has greater potential to exacerbate breathing problems.
The North Dakota Department of Health has issued the following health advisory for people in the area who have respiratory conditions:
• People with respiratory conditions, such as asthma, emphysema or bronchitis, should stay inside (except for purposes of evacuating), close their windows, and minimize activity outdoors
• People who may experience symptoms of respiratory distress should seek medical care immediately
• Anyone who is concerned about the smoke may choose to stay indoors
Area residents should monitor local news for future advisories from the NDDoH. For more information, contact Dave Glatt at 701.328.5150.