Train Derailment Brings Deja Vu To One Casselton Family

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Train derailments are not new to the valley. Some areas, like Casselton, have seen two in one year. A Casselton family is still dealing with both, including the November 13, 2014 derailment that happened on their property. The family tells Valley News Live how Wednesday's derailment in Heimdal, North Dakota, brings them déjà vu.

"It is so scary when that happens...thinking you have to run for your life," said Brandy Pyle.

Brandy Pyle, her husband and four children live along the railroad tracks in their 125 year old farm house.

The large fire balls from the December 30th 2013 oil train derailment are still imprinted in her mind. That derailment happened just a half-mile from her daughter's bedroom window. She still remembers feeling the heat from the fire.

"It is sheer terror of not knowing what's going to happen, or what to do, or even how to get out of there," said Pyle.

Pyle says between Casselton and Wheatland, they have seen seven derailments over the years. The most recent being in November, when empty rail cars and lumber spilled onto their farm land. Pyle says she would love to see more pipelines, adding that her family is trying to move on.

"It has happened and we educate the kids on train safety, especially when you're in the yard. We don't go to close and when the train goes by you just kind of sit and wait, then you can get the softball or golf ball," explained Pyle.

The Pyle family has taken the farmland impacted by the most recent derailment out of production this year. They don't want any remaining debris to wreck their farming equipment.

Pyle says derailments are in the back of her mind, but she will never let them force them from her home.

"You can't move the farm or the history. This is what we do and well survive," concluded Pyle. "I think other people are crazy where they choose to live so you learn to accept what surrounding you and just be vigilante of all the possibilities."

The Pyle family is still working with BNSF on a settlement for the damage done to their property.