Newspaper article The Canadian Press

No Timeline for Residents to Return to Homes near Alberta Derailment Site

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

No Timeline for Residents to Return to Homes near Alberta Derailment Site

Article excerpt

Residents remain out of homes near derailment


STONY PLAIN, Alta. - Residents of an tiny Alberta community near the site of a train derailment remained out of their homes for third day as CN Rail struggled to get the upper hand on a fire that was threatening the area.

Staff monitoring the derailment near Gainford carried out another controlled burn Monday evening to get rid of any remaining propane in pressurized tank cars that left the track over the weekend.

It's the second time in as many days that CN (TSX:CNR) had attempted to vent and then ignite the gas that remains on the train. CN had hoped to have people home after a first controlled burn on Sunday night.

"Unfortunately when we went to inspect the cars ... we found that not all the cars had vented their propane," said Warren Chandler, a spokesman for the railway.

"We hoped for an early return, but in the interests of safety, we can't do that yet."

The controlled burn procedure involves placing small explosives on the hulls of the derailed propane tank cars, then detonating them to punch small holes in the pressurized car shells.

The gas vapour ignites as it escapes and is supposed to burn off in a controlled manner.

Gainford residents have been out of their homes since early Saturday morning when 13 cars on a freight train went off the rails about 80 kilometres west of Edmonton.

Two explosions were reported, so people were ordered from their homes as a precaution. No one was injured.

As of Sunday, 126 people had registered with the evacuation centre.

Three of the rail cars were carrying liquefied petroleum gas, commonly known as propane, and caught fire. Four of the derailed freight cars were carrying crude and didn't break open. CN said those units have been removed from the scene.

Parkland County spokeswoman Jackie Ostashek said some impatient residents have begun taking matters into their own hands. …

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