Train carrying crude oil derails near Gogama, Ont.
This is the 4th train derailment in northern Ontario this year
CBC News, Mar 07, 2015
Several cars have caught fire after a Canadian National Railway train carrying crude oil derailed in northern Ontario, prompting officials to advise nearby residents to stay indoors and avoid consuming water from local sources.
Ontario Provincial Police were called to the scene at approximately 2:45 a.m. ET. The Transportation Safety Board said 30 to 40 cars derailed four kilometres southwest of Gogama, Ont., and there were no initial reports of injuries
Several cars have caught fire, police said, and others entered the Mattagami River System.
The cause of the derailment is still under investigation and the Ministry of Environment has been notified.
Residents of Mattagami First Nation are being advised not to consume water from the community source for the time being. Residents of Gogama and Mattagami First Nation are being asked to stay inside until further notice due to possible smoke inhalation.
CN Rail said emergency crews are conducting a full site assessment and activating the emergency response plan with local officials.
The owner of the Gogama Village Inn said she is thankful the winds are blowing in a different direction. She said she fears smoke from the fire could force the town to be evacuated.
Derailment not far from inn
Roxanne Veronneau said the site of the derailment is approximately two kilometres from her Inn.
“I look out my window here at the Inn and all I see is the smoke in the distance. I could see it at four o’clock in the morning. It makes you feel rather uncomfortable knowing that wow, hopefully there is not going to be a next time and that our town will be safe. But when you see like, 100 cars, I don’t know, 70 cars of crude oil coming right down the middle of your town, the thought crosses your mind when you see what’s happened in Quebec.”
Veronneau said her Inn was already full of workers who were dealing with the cleanup of the derailment that happened last month. “Once again the town is crawling with transports and machinery trying to get it under control.”
The town has come together to help, said Veronneau. She said she’s been coordinating to get anything workers need.
“One guy went and brought life jackets and paddles,” she said. “He came back to get ice augers, our snow machines. We are helping, doing whatever it takes to get this under control.”
Local MPP heads to site
NDP MPP for the region France Gélinas said she was travelling to the site after speaking to members of the local services board and residents of Gogama.
“They are courageous and scared,” said Gélinas. “This is the second derailment near their town and this one is very close. People can take pictures of the black smoke from their homes.”
Natalie Gaudette with the local services board said there is no immediate danger to residents and CN officials are on site doing air quality tests.
Highway 144 at Highway 661 at the Watershed is closed, as is Highway 101 at Highway 144. There is access to communities north of Gogama by way of the Cache.
This is the fourth CN Rail derailment in northern Ontario this year.
A train derailed last month, spilling crude oil and forcing the closure of the rail line.