Pipeline system partly operating
When a crude oil pipeline broke near Little falls Tuesday night, Bemidji Ambulance Paramedic Del Preuss and EMT Nathan Preuss were the first to spot trouble.
They said they were driving back to Bemidji from a patient transfer to a Twin Cities hospital.
They said they were on State Highway 10 and had reached Morrison County Road 76 just south of Little Falls when they saw a black substance shooting 50-60 feet into the air.
The Preusses phone law enforcement and turned the ambulance around to mark the site of the pipeline break. Little Falls Police and Morrison County deputies arrived quickly and stopped traffic in both directions on Highway 10.
Nathan Preuss also noticed a coal train approaching from the south, The train would have passed between the highway and the pipeline break, but they were able to stop the train in time using spotlights and their ambulance lights to signal the engine driver.
"The smell was definitely that of petroleum as it permeated the air," said Nathan Preuss.
A Little Falls Police officer directed the ambulance driver to lead a detour around the site on a country road which led to Little Falls.
"It was like leading a parade," said Del Preuss. "The stream of vehicles following us grew by the minute."
Minnesota Pipe Line Co. officials said limited operations of the pipeline system resumed Thursday. The break spilled an estimated 67,000 gallons of crude oil, officials said
Two pipelines were shut down. Minnesota Pipe Line officials said the company resumed operations of the unaffected pipeline and plans to resume limited operations of the affected pipeline when repairs are completed.