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Train derails in Canada, homes evacuated

08 January 2014, 10:49

New Brunswick - A freight train carrying crude oil and propane derailed and caught fire in a sparsely populated region of New Brunswick late on Tuesday, leading to the evacuation of about two dozen nearby homes, authorities said.

Sharon DeWitt, emergency measures co-ordinator for the nearby community of Plaster Rock, said it's unclear how big the fire is or whether anyone was hurt.

"To the best of our knowledge, only a few cars are involved and we are not exactly sure what those cars are carrying," she said in an interview. "We have evacuated homes in the immediate area."

A spokesperson for Ambulance New Brunswick said no casualties were transported from the site.

Canadian National Railway spokesperson Jim Feeny confirmed the eastbound train was carrying dangerous goods, including crude oil and propane.

"Some of those cars are in the area of the derailment," he said. "Whether they have derailed or are on fire, I do not have confirmation of that."

Feeny said the regularly scheduled freight train was headed to Moncton from Central Canada when it ran into trouble around 19:00 about 150km northwest of Fredericton in northwest New Brunswick.

The train's engineer and conductor, the only people on the train, were not hurt in the derailment, he said.

DeWitt said the train left the tracks about 5km from the village in a wooded area. She said there is one road near the site, which includes a number of homes.

There were unconfirmed reports of an explosion, but DeWitt said she was not aware on any blast at the site.

In July, 47 people were killed in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, when a train carrying crude oil derailed. Another oil train from North Dakota derailed and exploded in Alabama in November, causing no deaths but releasing an estimated 749 000 gallons of oil from 26 tanker cars.

- AP


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