January 9

Oil, gas in three derailed cars still ablaze near Maine-Canada border

The derailment roughly 20 miles from the border again raises concerns about the increasing use of rail to transport oil throughout North America.

The Associated Press

PLASTER ROCK, New Brunswick — Officials in Canada said a derailed freight train carrying crude oil and propane continued to burn Wednesday, and about 150 residents remained evacuated from their homes. There were no deaths or injuries.

click image to enlarge

This aerial photo shows derailed train cars burning in Plaster Rock, New Brunswick, on Wednesday. A Canadian National Railway freight train carrying crude oil and propane derailed Tuesday night in the sparsely populated area.

The Associated Press/The Canadian Press

click image to enlarge

Canadian National Railway CEO Claude Mongeau, center, and New Brunswick Premier David Alward answer questions about the train derailment at a news conference in Plaster Rock on Wednesday. Mongeau sa that of the 17 cars that derailed in, five contain crude oil and four contain propane.

The Canadian Press

Additional Photos Below

Related headlines

Of the 17 cars that derailed late Tuesday in New Brunswick province, five contain crude oil and four contain liquefied petroleum gas, officials said. Later Wednesday, the Canadian National Railway said two of the cars carrying liquefied petroleum gas and one car carrying crude oil were on fire.

“It is contained, but it is evolving,” said Claude Mongeau, the chief executive of CN.

The derailment in a sparsely populated region, roughly 20 miles (32 kilometers) from the U.S. border and northern Maine, again raised concerns about the increasing use of rail to transport oil throughout North America. In July, 47 people were killed in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, when a train carrying crude oil derailed.

A series of recent derailments in North America have worried both officials and residents close to rail lines. On Dec. 30, an oil train derailed and exploded in North Dakota, causing the evacuation of a nearby town but no injuries.

The train’s brakes came on unexpectedly, Canada’s Transportation Safety Board said based on preliminary information from the rail company and police.

“Preliminary reports were that the train was proceeding, and while proceeding experienced what we call an undesired brake application,” said Daniel Holbrook, a manager with the safety board. Holbrook also said the crew found a broken axle.

Andrew Simpson, 30, was playing cards with his uncle Tuesday evening when the train in New Brunswick went off the tracks less than a mile (1.6 kilometers) away. “The table just kind of rumbled, and out the window went a real bright orange,” he said. “We looked out and the whole train yard was on fire. We panicked and called (emergency services).”

New Brunswick Premier David Alward said there was minimal impact on the environment.

Sharon DeWitt, emergency measures coordinator for the nearby community of Plaster Rock, said no one was killed or injured. She said people were evacuated within a two-kilometer (1.24-mile) radius of the fire.

Officials said the regularly scheduled freight train ran into trouble around 7 p.m. Tuesday about 150 kilometers (93 miles) northwest of Fredericton. Canadian National Railway spokesman Mark Hallman said two of the crude train cars came from Northern Alberta and three came from southwestern Manitoba and were destined for an Irving Oil refinery in Saint John, New Brunswick.

DeWitt said the train left the tracks about five kilometers (three miles) from the village in a wooded area. She said there is one road near the site, which includes a number of homes.

The train’s engineer and conductor, the only people on the train, were not hurt, Canadian National Railway spokesman Jim Feeny said. Both have provided statements, but he would not give details.

In 2011, around 68,000 carloads of fuel oils and crude petroleum moved along Canadian rail lines, according to Statistics Canada. In 2012, that rose to nearly 113,000. Between January and September of 2013 — the most recent data available — some 118,000 carloads had been shipped via rail.

In November, the federal government required rail companies to tell municipalities when they transport dangerous goods through their communities, after provinces and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities demanded more transparency

Were you interviewed for this story? If so, please fill out our accuracy form

Send question/comment to the editors


Additional Photos

click image to enlarge

Fire burns on the horizon at the scene of a train derailment near Plaster Rock, New Brunswick, on Wednesday.

The Canadian Press

click image to enlarge

Canadian National Railway personnel converge on Plaster Rock, New Brunswick, on Wednesday.

The Canadian Press

 


Further Discussion

Here at OnlineSentinel.com we value our readers and are committed to growing our community by encouraging you to add to the discussion. To ensure conscientious dialogue we have implemented a strict no-bullying policy. To participate, you must follow our Terms of Use.

Questions about the article? Add them below and we’ll try to answer them or do a follow-up post as soon as we can. Technical problems? Email them to us with an exact description of the problem. Make sure to include:
  • Type of computer or mobile device your are using
  • Exact operating system and browser you are viewing the site on (TIP: You can easily determine your operating system here.)