GAINFORD, Alta.—Emergency crews were battling a massive fire Saturday after a CN tanker train carrying oil and gas derailed west of Edmonton overnight.
Thirteen cars—four laden with petroleum crude oil and nine carrying liquefied petroleum gas—came off the tracks around 1 a.m. local time in the hamlet of Gainford, about 80 kilometres from the provincial capital, authorities said.
Three cars containing gas were leaking and on fire, said CN spokesman Louis-Antoine Paquin.
Witnesses said they heard an explosion at about 1 a.m. and officials said there was another blast around 9 a.m.
“It’s still leaking, so there is that risk of explosion,” said Carson Mills, spokesman for Parkland County, which includes Gainford.
“It’s still a risky situation so we need to contain as much as possible and keep people far away.”
The area is under a state of emergency and the community of roughly 100 has been evacuated, he said. Travel has been restricted and news media were being kept about 20 kilometres from the scene.
No injuries had been reported.
One resident told CHED radio that he heard a series of crashes moments before seeing a “huge, huge fireball” shoot into the sky.
“The fireball was so big, it shot across both lanes of the Yellowhead (Highway) and now both lanes of the Yellowhead are closed and there’s fire on both sides,” said the witness identified only as Duane.