By Lachlan Labere/Eagle Valley News
Emergency crews are standing by as cleanup begins of a coal train derailment that occurred in Canoe earlier this morning.
CPRail spokesperson Kevin Hrysak says the derailment occurred at 5:30 a.m. near the 50th Street railway crossing. Ten cars of the 124-car westbound coal train went off the tracks, dumping their load on the lakeside of CP’s right of way.
Hrysak says there were no injuries, no environmental concerns, and there is no risk to the surrounding community. However, Salmon Arm Fire Chief Brad Shirley says representatives from the Ministry of Environment are expected to investigate because the train knocked over a fire hydrant, and water from it flowed into the lake.
“There’s a possibility that some coal went in there as well, and we’re just awaiting Ministry of Environment attendance to assess that,” said Shirley.
City of Salmon Arm staff shut down water to the hydrant at around 6 a.m., leaving residents on the north side of the tracks, along the foreshore, without water until the scene is cleaned up later today.
Fire crews from Salmon Arm and Canoe have been onsite all morning and continue to monitor the situation, as the derailment also impacted a hydro line, temporarily knocking out power, and also broke open a natural gas meter.
“We’re standing by, confirming that the hydro has been taken care of and the gas has been taken care of, and now they’re going to upright the train car here fairly soon, and again, we just want to make sure, if something sparks or something, we’re here in attendance,” said Shirley.
Hrysak says CP’s first responders and operational personnel are onsite as well, assessing the situation while assuring all necessary precautions are taken before cleanup commences. At the same time, CP investigators are attempting to determine a cause.
“We’re co-operating with all of the agencies involved,” says Hrysak. “The cause of the incident has yet to be determined, but safety is our top priority so we will be conducting a full investigation into not only the cause, but what led it as well.”