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Evacuation lifted at train derailment site in Saskatchewan

A CN freight train carrying dangerous goods derailed in central Saskatchewan, near the town of Wadena, and caught fire, Tuesday, October 7, 2014.
Image Credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Liam Richards
October 08, 2014 - 11:04 AM

WADENA, Sask. - The local fire chief says an evacuation order has been lifted for residents of a small Saskatchewan community forced from their homes by a fiery train derailment.

Wadena fire chief Harold Narfason says a small fire that was still burning is out and everyone from Clair, which has a population about 50, and surrounding farms has been given the all clear to go home.

"There is no risk to the public now," Narfason said Wednesday morning. "There's no concerns about pollutants in the air. Everything is falling into place quite nicely."

Narfason said the decision to lift the evacuation order was made jointly by fire, emergency response and CN officials.

The 100-car freight train derailed Tuesday about 190 kilometres east of Saskatoon. A few of the 26 cars that left the track were carrying petroleum products and caught fire.

Narfason said a highway nearby was still closed while workers cleared the tracks and put in new rail bed, but it was expected to reopen by 6 p.m.

He said any product remaining in the tanker cars also needed to be removed.

CN spokesman Jim Feeny says rail crews worked through the night.

"We've cleared the last of the derailed cars off the track and we have now begun to rebuild the track," he said. "We expect to have the line back in operation later today."

Environmental testing has begun and the results will be shared with authorities and residents, said Feeny, who added the Transportation Safety Board was also on site and had begun its investigation.

When asked about a resident's concern that work had been done recently on the section of track where the derailment occurred, Feeny said maintenance happens regularly.

"We're on the track all the time. The track was visually inspected Monday, the day before the incident, and it was found to be clear. There were no exceptions noted. The track was in safe operating condition.

"Our maintenance forces are up and down that track on a daily basis. It's very possible somebody could have been doing something there, but we can't really draw any conclusions from that."

Feeny said the train was going within the speed limit of 40 km/h on that section. One engineer and one conductor were on board. They were not hurt.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2014
The Canadian Press

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