By REBECCA PENTY
(Bloomberg) -- A Canadian National Railway
train carrying crude oil and liquefied petroleum gas derailed
west of Edmonton early today, causing an explosion and
One car containing LPG, or propane, exploded and set two
other cars leaking the flammable substance on fire, said Carson
Mills, a spokesman for Parkland County, in a telephone
interview. Thirteen cars derailed, he said.
Rail transport of crude is under heightened regulatory
scrutiny in Canada and the US after a train carrying oil
derailed and exploded in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, in July, killing
47. Companies face new rules that may raise costs, including a
Canadian directive that requires testing and labeling of crude
in rail cars.
Emergency responders evacuated 49 residents of the rural
community of Gainford and the county declared a state of
emergency for the area, after officials were notified of the
derailment, said Parkland County Mayor Rod Shaigec in a
Given the tragic incident at Lac-Megantic earlier, it
certainly demonstrates the urgent need to review rail
safety, Shaigec said, noting the imminent
threat that more explosions may occur at the site of the
CN Rail derailment. Were very fortunate that this
did occur in a sparsely populated area.
The train derailed about 90 km west of Edmonton.
Firefighters are letting the leaking propane burn off to
avoid the risk of a future fire, Shaigec said. Helicopters
provided by the Alberta governments Environment and
Sustainable Resource Development department worked to
extinguish a grass fire that spread from the blaze, he
The public was kept from the site by the closing of a
stretch of highway near the rail line, Shaigec said. He spoke
today with numerous politicians from across the country,
including Canadas Transport Minister Lisa Raitt, who
offered federal government support, he said.
Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers are on site.
The train was traveling westbound and carrying mixed freight
in 134 cars, Warren Chandler, a CN Rail spokesman, said in a
telephone interview. He couldnt immediately identify the
starting point and destination of the train and the customer
for whom the railroad was transporting the fuels.
CN Rail had responders on site and there were no injuries,
he said. This kind of disaster will become the new normal
unless the federal government takes much more effective
measures to improve oil transportation safety, Mike
Hudema, climate and energy campaigner with Greenpeace Canada,
said in an e-mailed statement, calling the incident
Albertas third major derailment in recent
The three cars that caught fire are the only ones that
leaked, Chandler said. Among the derailed cars, nine contained
LPG, a light hydrocarbon, and four contained oil. Canadas
Transportation Safety Board sent investigators to the site,
Chris Krepski, a spokesman for the agency, said in a telephone