Thunder Bay

CN train carrying crude oil derails near Fort Frances, Ont.

A train with several rail cars carrying crude oil has derailed west of Fort Frances, according to Ontario Provincial Police.

No risk to public safety, police say, but homes within 800 metres being evacuated

Kathy Mercier lives in the area near where a CN train carrying crude oil derailed outside Emo, Ont. She took this picture of heavy machinery heading to the site. (Submitted by Kathy Mercier)

Multiple rail cars are leaking crude oil after a CN Rail train derailment west of Fort Frances, Ont.

A statement from the railway said the incident occurred Tuesday night near Emo, and local emergency responders and provincial authorities were at the scene Wednesday morning.

Emo Mayor Harold McQuaker said he was informed of the incident shortly after 9 p.m. Tuesday. 

"Contractors are on site, CN is on site. Everybody is coordinated and doing a wonderful job, and there's no immediate danger or anything. Basically everything is contained and we're just dealing with it and moving forward," he told CBC News Wednesday morning.

Ontario Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks spokesperson Gary Wheeler said five of the approximately 30 cars that derailed have developed leaks. Wheeler said the leaking oil appears to have remained close to the area of the derailment, likely helped by overnight temperatures of around –25 C.

A CN Rail train derailed near Emo, Ont. on Tuesday. (CBC News)

Kathy Mercier, who has lived in the tiny community for about a year, said the mood around town "was very calm." 

"Not a lot of traffic, not a lot of people out there, as the school is closed because it's fairly close [to the tracks]," she said. 

She said some of the workers at the community's grocery story told her "you could smell the fuel in the air" when they walked to work.

Mercier said she is "still getting used to the train going by so quickly and going by so often in Emo, and having the house shake a little bit, but I didn't even know this was happening yesterday. I found out because my son got a text from a friend."

Ontario Provincial Police said there is no risk to public safety, but initiated an evacuation of homes within an 800-metre radius of the scene.

The Rainy River District School Board has closed Donald Young School because of the derailment.

Highway 602 is closed in both directions south of Emo.

CN said there are no reports of any injuries, and the cause of the incident is under investigation.

The Transportation Safety Board said it will also send an investigator to the site. That person will gather information, and assess the occurrence


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