Valdosta Daily Times

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January 9, 2014

Train carrying oil derails, catches fire in Canada

PLASTER ROCK, New Brunswick — Officials in Canada said a derailed freight train carrying crude oil and propane continued to burn Wednesday, and about 150 residents remained evacuated from their homes. There were no deaths or injuries.

Of the 17 cars that derailed late Tuesday in New Brunswick province, five contain crude oil and four contain liquefied petroleum gas, officials said. Later Wednesday, the Canadian National Railway said two of the cars carrying liquefied petroleum gas and one car carrying crude oil were on fire.

“It is contained, but it is evolving,” said Claude Mongeau, the chief executive of CN.

The derailment in a sparsely populated region, roughly 20 miles (32 kilometers) from the U.S. border and northern Maine, again raised concerns about the increasing use of rail to transport oil throughout North America. In July, 47 people were killed in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, when a train carrying crude oil derailed.

A series of recent derailments in North America have worried both officials and residents close to rail lines. On Dec. 30, an oil train derailed and exploded in North Dakota, causing the evacuation of a nearby town but no injuries.

The train’s brakes came on unexpectedly, Canada’s Transportation Safety Board said based on preliminary information from the rail company and police.

“Preliminary reports were that the train was proceeding, and while proceeding experienced what we call an undesired brake application,” said Daniel Holbrook, a manager with the safety board. Holbrook also said the crew found a broken axle.

Andrew Simpson, 30, was playing cards with his uncle Tuesday evening when the train in New Brunswick went off the tracks less than a mile (1.6 kilometers) away.

“The table just kind of rumbled, and out the window went a real bright orange,” he said.

“We looked out and the whole train yard was on fire. We

panicked and called (emergency services).”

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