GAINFORD, Alta. — Emergency crews are battling a massive fire after a CN tanker train carrying oil and gas derailed west of Edmonton overnight.
Thirteen cars — four carrying petroleum crude oil and nine carrying liquefied petroleum gas — came off the tracks around 1 a.m. local time in the hamlet of Gainford, about 80 kilometres from the provincial capital, authorities said Saturday.
Three cars containing gas are leaking and on fire, said CN spokesman Louis-Antoine Paquin.
Officials said they fear there could be an explosion.
“It’s still leaking, so there is that risk of explosion,” said Carson Mills, spokesman for Parkland County, which includes Gainford.
“It’s still a risky situation so we need to contain as much as possible and keep people far away.”
The area is under a state of emergency and the entire community of roughly 100 has been evacuated, he said.
No injuries have been reported so far.
One resident described hearing a series of crashes moments before he saw a “huge, huge fireball” shoot into the sky.
“The fireball was so big, it shot across both lanes of the Yellowhead (Highway) and now both lanes of the Yellowhead are closed and there’s fire on both sides,” said the witness identified only as Duane.
A stretch of the highway has been shut down due to the fire.
The Transportation Safety Board said it is sending investigators to the scene.