Sudbury

Sudbury ready for rail fire, says city's top firefighter

Greater Sudbury's top firefighter says the city is well prepared to respond to a fiery derailment like the one in Gogama this week.
Oil tankers waiting in the CP trainyard in downtown Sudbury. (Erik White/CBC )

Greater Sudbury's top firefighter says the city is well prepared to respond to a fiery derailment like the one in Gogama this week.

The city is criss-crossed by both the CN and CP lines, as well as being home to two major train yards in downtown Sudbury and Capreol.

Trevor Bain, Greater Sudbury's executive deputy chief for fire and paramedic services, said the city has over 400 firefighters and 95 fire trucks ready to respond to any major fire.

Trevor Bain is the executive deputy chief for fire and paramedic services in Greater Sudbury. (Erik White/CBC)

"That is a lot of trucks," he said. "That is a lot of capability. Most areas of the province would be lucky to have that number."

Bain said Sudbury firefighters do plan for specific scenarios, such as a train fire in the downtown rail yards or an incident at the Copper Cliff smelter.

He said his deputy chief and two training officers are going to Colorado next week for specialized training on putting out railway fires.

But Bain said he wishes the city had a bit more information on what trains are carrying through the city.

He said the city does receive cargo lists from CP and CN Rail, but that information is provided once a year.

It's intended for helping cities plan for emergencies, rather than respond to them.

The CN tracks cross the eastern side of Greater Sudbury, through Coniston and New Sudbury, leading to the Capreol railyards. (Erik White/CBC)

"It's always unfortunately after the fact," Bain said. "For reasons beyond me that is the current way of advising of what's going through our city."

The lists of railway cargo provided to Greater Sudbury are for internal use at city hall and not shared with the public.

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