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HAGER CITY, WI – The Wisconsin community of Hager City “really dodged a bullet” in the BNSF freight train derailment near the Ralston Purina pet food plant on September 13, 2010.

Derailed freight cars in Hager City, WI come perilously close to the Ralston Purina pet food plant actually striking the building, but not going through the lightweight steel walls.

Although the derailment did cause some damage, the community was lucky because it could have been a lot worse.

More information has been learned about the train derailment since our original article, “BNSF Train Derails Hitting Purina Pet Food Plant in Hager City WI“. A news broadcast has become available which shows that the mishap came with a few lucky breaks.


Just a few feet behind the outer wall of the Ralston Purina pet food facility where one of the rail cars struck the building there were employees in the plant working at the time and no one was injured. The outside walls of the building are only made of lightweight steel and they are no match for tons of moving freight cars.

There also is a propane gas business very close to the site. Propane tanks full of the highly flammable gas were lying only a few hundred feet away from the derailment and none of the tanks were damaged. About 7 homes nearby were evacuated as a precaution, though.

Propane gas tanks full of the highly flammable gas were lying only a few hundred feet away from the derailment site.

We now know what the train was carrying in the 31-car derailment. The 72-car train was hauling corn, magazines and paint. Some hazardous chemicals were also on the train, but luckily, the cars that were carrying them were not damaged.

New details of the derailment have become available in recent newscasts of the incident. On September 13, Pierce County Sheriff Nancy Hove said in a WQOW Channel 18 newscast the following about the proximity of the derailed freight cars to the Purina pet food plant:

The one car actually hit the building. If that had gone through the building, there were people working on the other side of that wall. So we really dodged a bullet as far as any injuries; any major catastrophe.

The southbound track was re-opened a day later. Although it was the northbound track that was heavily damaged, the southbound track was blocked.

WATCH VIDEO about the southbound track being reopened at the WQOW website.

It is expected that the clean up would take a few days.

Published by FELA lawyer Gordon, Elias & Seely, LLP

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