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Train carrying crude derails near Edmonton

October 23, 2013

<photocredit>Arvydas KniukA!ta/iStockphoto/Thinkstock</photocredit>

A train carrying crude oil and liquefied petroleum gas derailed near Edmonton, Alberta, on Saturday, causing the evacuation of the town of Gainford. The train operator, Canadian National Railway (CN Rail), said that 13 of the 130 cars derailed, causing two explosions, the Associated Press reported.

Several cars caught fire in the incident, causing firefighters that arrived at the scene to retreat and wait until the fire burned itself out. On Sunday the railway operator started a controlled burn of the derailed cars, claiming that this was the safest and quickest way to ensure that there was no risk to the community and the environment.

Parkland County Fire Chief James Phelan explained that further explosions were not expected and that residents of Gainford would be allowed to return to their homes when the situation was deemed safe.

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Because of the fire in the immediate vicinity of the derailed cars, investigations had still not started late on Sunday. However, an investigation team with the Transportation Safety Board of Canada was on site and was expected to start looking into the incident as soon as possible. Investigators planned to talk to CN Rail crew and to inspect the tracks, as well as the train's maintenance and history, reports said.

Meanwhile, Parkland County Mayor Rod Shaigec commented that thankfully the damage was minimal in comparison to the destruction caused by the train crash in Lac-Megantic earlier this year, which killed 47 people.