‘We were very scared:’ Woman describes fiery derailment near Lanigan, Sask.

No injuries were reported and evacuations had not been ordered

Emergency crew respond to CP Rail train hauling crude oil that derailed near Guernsey, Sask. on Monday, December 9, 2019. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Liam Richards)

A woman who witnessed the aftermath of a crude oil freight train derailment in central Saskatchewan says the only other time she’s seen flames like that was on television.

Melanie Loessl lives on a rural property about six kilometres from Guernsey near where Canadian Pacific Railway reported a train had derailed about midnight Sunday.

Loessl’s land runs along the railway tracks and she says she’s so used to the sound of trains she didn’t hear anything.

But when she emerged from her home about 1:45 a.m., after firefighters arrived on her property, she saw a roaring blaze at the end of her driveway.

“You could hear the hissing and noise from the cars that were on fire and there was just an enormous amount of flames. You couldn’t imagine it,” she said Monday.

“I was in awe.”

READ MORE: Faulty coupling cited as cause of fatal B.C. logging train derailment

Loessl said she went to see her daughter, who lives nearby, and they talked to firefighters about where to go if they needed to leave.

“We were very scared. We didn’t know if the cars would actually blow up or what they would do.”

CP said in a statement no injuries were reported and evacuations had not been ordered.

Loessl said she had been asked to leave as a precaution around 4 a.m. because the direction of the wind could change, but she returned home about six hours later.

“It’s just so black and it smells really bad,” she said.

The fire was burning close to the road. CP said emergency response and haz-mat crews had been deployed and were working with first responders to assess and minimize any impact to the surrounding area.

RCMP blocked traffic on Highway 16 between Guernsey and Plunkett because of smoke from the blaze. The highway was still closed Monday afternoon.

READ MORE: B.C. train that derailed and killed three ‘just started moving on its own’

The Saskatchewan government said fire crews were expected to extinguish the fire later Monday and that the smoke would subside. Oil cleanup was also to begin.

It said environmental protection officers were monitoring the site and the air quality, but no advisories had been issued.

“At this time there is no concern to public safety,” said a government statement.

CP said an investigation was underway into the cause of the derailment. There was no immediate word on how many rail cars were involved.

Loessl said there was too much smoke to see how many train cars went off the tracks, but it appeared to have happened at a crossing.

“I just see a pile of cars,” she said.

“At the end of my driveway, I cannot look across to the east because the smoke is so black you cannot see anything.”

She believes some oil may have spilled at the end of her pasture and is worried about the possibility of her wells having been contaminated.

CP said initial reports indicated there was no impact on any waterways. Crews were working to clean up, remove derailed cars and restore the area.

— By Stephanie Taylor in Regina

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

RCMP seek public’s help in identifying suspects responsible for keying cars in Castlegar

At least three cars have been keyed in north Castlegar in the last 24 hours

Young farmers find a home through land-matching program

Young Agrarians links would-be farmers with landowners who have land to spare

Morning start: A history of the Arrow Lakes

Here is your Kootenays’ morning start for Wednesday, May 27

Castlegar residents can now report minor crimes to RCMP online

New reporting tool available for Castlegar, Robson, Ootischenia, Thrums, Deer Park, Glade, Tarrys

B.C. legislature coming back June 22 as COVID-19 emergency hits record

Pandemic restrictions now longer than 2017 wildfire emergency

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

B.C.’s essential grocery, hardware store employees should get pandemic pay: retail group

Only B.C.’s social, health and corrections workers are eligible for top-ups

COLUMN: Canada needs to remember rural communities as thoughts turn to pandemic recovery

Small towns often rely on tourism, which has been decimated by COVID-19

Edmonton, Vancouver and Toronto vying to be NHL hubs, but there’s a catch

The NHL unveiled a return-to-play plan that would feature 24 teams

B.C. sees 9 new COVID-19 cases, one death as officials watch for new cases amid Phase Two

Number of confirmed active cases is at 244, with 37 people in hospital

Nanaimo senior clocked going 50 km/hr over limit says her SUV shouldn’t be impounded

RCMP say they can’t exercise discretion when it comes to excessive speeding tickets

Illicit-drug deaths up in B.C. and remain highest in Canada: chief coroner

More than 4,700 people have died of overdoses since B.C. declared a public health emergency in early 2016

CMHC sees declines in home prices, sales, starts that will linger to end of 2022

CMHC said average housing prices could fall anywhere from nine to 18 per cent in its forecast

Most Read