Video shows massive fireball engulfing hazmat workers at derailment site
26 rail cars derailed near Clair, Sask., on Oct. 7, 2014
More than a year after a major Saskatchewan train derailment, dramatic video has emerged showing how two hazmat workers were almost killed.
The video was taken by Wadena volunteer firefighter Brian Weber, on Oct. 7, 2014, the day of the CN Rail derailment near Clair, which is about 185 kilometres east of Saskatoon.
His fire protective gear is the only thing that saved his life.- Brian Weber, volunteer firefighter
Twenty-six rail cars went off the tracks — a number of them filled with toxic or flammable chemicals — and some of them exploded and burned.
Hours later, most of the fire had been extinguished.
Flares used to ignite controlled burns
Members of a hazardous materials crew were using lit road flares to burn off flammable materials, tossing one flare from a distance toward one of the derailed cars.
Weber recorded what happened next. A large fireball expanded out of the site and appeared to engulf two haz-mat workers, who had been brought in by CN earlier in the day.
"The one guy got thrown about 20 feet [six metres] back," Weber said.
"The guy that threw the flare, he turned, covered his face, and just fell down on the ground and his fire protective gear is the only thing that saved his life."
Looking at the video, it's hard to believe the two workers survived, he said.
"It was unreal," Weber said.
The two haz-mart workers were able to walk away without injury.
"One guy was picking gravel out of his underwear and stuff because it blew him so hard it blew gravel in places where gravel shouldn't go," he said.
Weber said he recently put the video on Facebook because there was a lot of public interest in the derailment.
With files from Madeline Kotzer