Evacuations ordered after freight train derails, catches fire in N.B.
Published Tuesday, January 7, 2014 8:33PM EST
Last Updated Wednesday, January 8, 2014 5:56AM EST
Approximately two dozen homes in northern New Brunswick have been evacuated after a CN freight train jumped the tracks and caught fire.
The derailment happened Tuesday evening in the community of Wapske, near the village of Plaster Rock. CN spokesperson Jim Feeny told The Canadian Press the train was carrying dangerous goods, including propane and crude oil, but said it’s unclear if those cars were involved in the derailment.
"We are deploying full emergency response ... from Moncton, Toronto and Montreal," Feeny said. "Their priority is to protect the safety of the people and the environment."
Feeny said the train, which was heading to Moncton, N.B., from Central Canada, ran into trouble around 7 p.m. local time. The train’s engineer and conductor, the only two people on board the train, were not hurt, Feeny said.
Following the derailment, there were unconfirmed reports of an explosion, but Plaster Rock’s emergency measures co-ordinator Sharon DeWitt says she is not aware of any blast at the site of the derailment.
"There's a lot of fire personnel on site or en route," she told The Canadian Press on Tuesday. "Police and ambulances are also on site." She added that officials told them residents near the site of the derailment are in "no immediate danger."
An evacuation centre in Plaster Rock has been opened for displaced residents but DeWitt said those told to leave their homes are all staying with family and friends. The Canadian Red Cross has sent a team of disaster volunteers to help officials with the aftermath of the derailment.
"This is a precautionary step as the area outside of Plaster Rock where the derailment occurred is sparsely populated so the number of people impacted by evacuation is small and most of them will likely choose to stay with family or friends elsewhere in the community," Bill Lawlor, the Canadian Red Cross director of disaster management for New Brunswick, said in a statement.
"However, should any residents require a place to stay including through the night, or should circumstances change unexpectedly, our team is bringing cots, blankets and other essentials to properly manage a shelter."
The road between the Wapske and Plaster Rock has been shut down and the area has been evacuated, Fire Chief Timothy Corbin told CTV Atlantic on Tuesday.
With files from CTV Atlantic and The Canadian Press