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Guernsey residents evacuated as derailed freight train in flames

February 7, 2020   Don Horne




People have been evacuated from Guernsey, Sask. after a freight train derailed nearby sending scorching flames into the air.

The train jumped the tracks about 6:15 a.m. near the small community, roughly 115 kilometres southeast of Saskatoon, Canadian Pacific Railway told Canadian Press.

Jack Gibney, reeve of the Rural Municipality of Usborne (which includes Guernsey), said about 85 residents were being evacuated from the community.

Patty Prentice was driving to work just after the derailment and, in the pre-dawn darkness, initially thought she was coming across a small fire.

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“The flames just got bigger and bigger and I could feel the heat when I drove by,” Prentice told Canadian Press.

There was no immediate word of injuries.

Prentice said she called relatives who also live in the area and heard they were told to get out.

“They knocked on doors, told them… to meet at the community centre if they wanted to know more information,” she said.

A stretch of Highway 16, a major route also known as the Yellowhead, was closed in both directions.

Federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau said in a tweet that he was “seized with this morning’s rail incident.”

“We are gathering the facts and I am following this very closely,” he said.

The Transportation Safety Board was sending a team of investigators to the site.

About 19 cars of a CP train derailed in the same area in December, causing a major blaze and leaking 1.5-million litres of oil.

(Canadian Press)


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