On December 22, 2020 a BNSF crude oil train derailed and caught fire in Custer, Washington. Some authorities now believe the only way this particular derailment could have happened was by sabotage.
Korey McDaniel, who works with the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers, said “We know from the FBI investigation, from how trains operate, how trains work, how the couplers work, how the pin lifters work, that this incident was caused without a doubt by sabotage.”
Russel Quimby, a retired NTSB investigator, said “Whoever did this had enough knowledge of railroad equipment to know what he’s doing and enough knowledge of an air-brake system to know what to do.”
According to an article written by KUOW reporter, John Ryan, “A driver reported seeing two young men emerge from the tracks several minutes before the train derailed, but otherwise, the FBI has not revealed if it has any suspects…public records, internal BNSF documents, and interviews with rail experts, public officials, witnesses, and neighbors have allowed KUOW to piece together how a train with its head locomotive going just 7 miles per hour could suddenly turn into a toxic inferno.”
It’s important to note that the federal investigation that is being conducted by FBI, FRA, and NTSB is still ongoing and the official cause of the derailment will not be announced until their investigation has been completed.
Sabotage caused Washington oil-train disaster, rail union says