CN offers apology for Gainford derailment
Photo Courtesy: Transportation Safety Board of Canada
Published Saturday, October 19, 2013 8:35PM MDT
Officials say it could be days before residents will be able to return to their homes following a train derailment west of Edmonton.
The derailment happened around 1 a.m. Saturday, along Highway 16 and Range Road 61, near the Hamlet of Gainford, forcing about 100 residents to flee.
According to officials 13 cars derailed, nine contained petroleum gas and four contained crude oil.
Three of the derailed cars were burning, vice president of CN, Jim Vena, confirmed at a media conference Saturday evening.
Vena apologized on behalf of the company for the incident and also said inspections on the rails and train cars had been undertaken.
“We are going to stay here until we find out what happened and make sure we understand what happened.
“We run a safe railroad but we do have incidences but every incidence we want to make sure we get to the bottom of it.”
He also said they had confirmed the train had been travelling at 35 kilometres an hour when the derailment occurred.
Following the evacuation officials secured the area and decided to let the remaining substance burn off which was expected to take up to 24 hours.
Parkland fire chief, Jim Phelan, said crews would continue containment efforts until they were sure the area was safe.
“It is safer to just let it flare until that product is consumed.”
MLA Diana McQueen said that Sustainable Resource Development had been monitoring the situation and that the water bodies did not seem to be at risk.
She also added that the air quality was good.
Parkland County Mayor, Rod Shaigec, said he was hoping for a quick resolution to the situation.
“We look forward to working collaboratively to ensure that our residents can get back to their homes and resume their lives and the businesses in the area can get back to business as well.”
The Transportation Safety Board of Canada will continue to investigate the incident.