The Calgary Fire Department says it has sent an invoice to Canadian Pacific Railway totalling more than $500,000 following a derailment at the Alyth Yard last September.
Eight railcars carrying flammable liquids came off the tracks as a slow-moving train was heading northbound out of the CPR Alyth Yard in the city’s southeast on Sept. 11.
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The derailment forced some Inglewood residents out of their homes and had Calgary firefighters on scene around the clock.
At the time, city officials said they would be sending CP an invoice for the cost of the response.
"As we saw with that derailment, it was an extended time period over two days that tied up a lot of resources to work with CP and ensure public safety was being managed," said Ken Uzeloc, the fire department's deputy chief of operations.
The budget for the fire department, which has seen some cuts recently, is set by city council.
Bill more than $500K
Uzeloc says the six-figure bill was submitted at the beginning of March. He wouldn't release a specific total, other than to say the invoice is more than $500,000.
The cars, which were carrying flammable liquids, demanded a significant response from Calgary crews, he says.
None of the cargo spilled, but it took hours to safely extract the product from the tankers because they were pressurized. Uzeloc says the city's response included rotating crews, multiple fire engines and hazardous material units. At any given time, there were as many as six different units on site.
"We're working with CP. They have questions. Obviously, when any company gets invoiced, they have questions about what they're being invoiced for so we're going through and explaining what those costs are and what the apparatus are that were on scene with that and working with CP and their representatives on it," said Uzeloc.
A CP spokesperson told CBC News "any discussions with the City of Calgary and CP are between the railway and the city."
L.J. Robertson, the Inglewood Community Association’s redevelopment director, says she isn't surprised to hear the company has been invoiced.
"I would jolly well hope they'd be presented with a bill and richly deserved," said Robertson.
For people living in Inglewood, the derailment couldn't have come at a worse time — just three months after the June flood. Robertson says what was most frustrating was that they didn't immediately know what was in those cars.
They want to make sure they won’t be faced with such a mystery should there be a future derailment, she says.
"We're trying to see if we can't repair this situation, put some regulations in place that are going to give the ability and grounding for some better relations and a safer kind of presence in the community by the railway going forward," said Robertson.