Dozens of residents in Saskatchewan, Canada were evacuated yesterday after a train carrying hazardous materials derailed, spilling petroleum distillate and bursting into flames. Petroleum distillates are used in diesel, kerosene, heating oil and jet fuel.
News sources report that no one was injured in the accident involving a Canadian National Railway Co. (CNR). Firefighters responded to the blaze and were able to contain it by evening.
Twenty-six of the 100 cars of the train derailed. In addition to the two carrying petroleum distillate, two were carrying hydrochloric acid and two were carrying caustic soda.
Canadian Transport Minister Lisa Raitt said the Transportation Safety Board would investigate the accident to determine its cause. Raitt recently said the government “has done tremendous work on rail safety.”
After a series of fiery – and often fatal -- derailments, including a July 2013 derailment and explosion in Quebec that killed 47 people, both the Canadian and U.S. governments have sought regulations that would ban older tank cars and mandate thicker steel and safer valves for new ones.
The oil and railway industries have mounted opposition to the plan, citing cost and energy needs. Accidents involving trains carrying crude oil have increased along with a boom in hydraulic fracturing and other extraction techniques.