Five families evacuated after Saskatchewan train derailment

A Canadian National train carrying propane tanks derailed and exploded near the Saskatchewan-Manitoba boundary Saturday, prompting the small community of Spy Hill, Sask., to declare a state of emergency.

Flames erupt from an exploding train car spewing thick smoke into the sky hours after a CN train derailment east of Spy Hill

SPY HILL, Sask. — A Canadian National train carrying propane tanks derailed and exploded near the Saskatchewan-Manitoba boundary Saturday, prompting the small community of Spy Hill, Sask., to declare a state of emergency.

Six rural families were evacuated from their homes by emergency crews.

“The main concern at this point would be getting it out before the winds change,” said Spy Hill Mayor Allan Perrin. “The sooner they can get it under control the better I’ll feel.”

The train derailed at about 7 a.m., sending thick plumes of black smoke into the air.

Fire departments from Spy Hill, Regina and Esterhazy, Sask., were all on scene Saturday evening but kept a safe distance until the propane burned out.

According to Perrin, an estimated 45 cars derailed from the track about one kilometre east of Spy Hill.

“Smoke is visible from 25 miles away,” Perrin said.

The village of 200 people is located about 13 kilometres west of the Manitoba boundary. The two crew members on board escaped without injury, said CN spokesman Kelli Svendsen.

“Safety is our priority,” Svendsen said. “Currently the public is not at risk. We will go near the site when it is safe to do so.”

The 168-car freight train, carrying a number of different products including propane, was travelling eastbound when the derailment occurred.

RCMP said they had evacuated a two-kilometre radius around the crash scene for safety purposes, and Transport Canada ordered a six-kilometre no-fly zone around the area. A CN operations crew was on scene, as well as dangerous goods experts and environmental officials to evaluate the situation.

“Right now there’s no indication that there was an environmental impact,” Svendsen said.

The cause of the derailment is under investigation.

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