Train goes up in flames while rolling through London, Ont. Here’s what we know

Click to play video: 'Train ride to hell? CPKC’s rail cars catch fire, blazing trail to London, Ont.'
Train ride to hell? CPKC’s rail cars catch fire, blazing trail to London, Ont.
WATCH ABOVE: CPKC's rail cars catch fire, blazing trail to London, Ont – Apr 22, 2024

Five railcars on a CPKC train went up in flames as they were travelling in London, Ont., on Sunday night.

Platoon chief Colin Shewall said the railcars were carrying used wooden railway ties, which are used in laying railway tracks, and no injuries were reported.

“My understanding is the locomotives were tested recently for any type of emissions, and they passed that,” Shewell said.

“The train crew disconnected the cars that were on fire with some possible dangerous goods that were on board other cars that were empty, but still a threat.”

Still, residents in the area were urged to stay inside with windows shut because of heavy smoke just south of Oxford Street between Richmond and Waterloo streets.

Story continues below advertisement

The London Fire Department said multiple 911 calls came in from residents in the west end of the city at 10:49 p.m. The train continued travelling, heading eastbound to downtown, before coming to stop at Waterloo and Pall Mall streets.

Breaking news from Canada and around the world sent to your email, as it happens.

“At the height of the incident, we had about 28 firefighters and 10 apparatus on scene,” Shewell said.

Crews focused on protecting the Drewlo Holdings building from smoke and fire damage and used about 250 litres of foam to get the fire down.

By 12:30 a.m. Monday, firefighters lifted the request for residents to stay indoors with windows shut, saying there was no more smoke in the area.

Shortly after 1 a.m., fire crews began clearing the scene and CP crews moved the train cars to the railway yard that stretches between Adelaide and Quebec streets, just north of Central Avenue.

Eight firefighters and two apparatus were then dispatched to the yard to finish dousing hot spots, using a “T-Rex Aerial Truck,” the fire department said, and remained there until around 4:30 a.m.

Story continues below advertisement


Damage is pegged at $25,000 for any maintenance required due to heat stress on the rail cars and $10,000 to the Drewlo Holding building at Waterloo and Pall Mall streets (formerly the Siskinds building).

Shewell said the railway company was investigating the cause of the fire but that “at this point it’s deemed obviously suspicious until proven otherwise.”

A CPKC spokesperson said only that the incident “remains under investigation.” They also extended thanks to London’s first responders for their “effective response.”

Shewell also took the opportunity to praise the co-operation involved in responding to the fire, particularly from the rail crews.

“We called our partners at city hall to make sure that we were looking after any runoff into the water system, and that was looked after,” he said.

“We worked in conjunction, unified command, with CP rail as well.… The crews crew did a great job, the conductor and engineer also supplied us with pertinent information of what we were exactly dealing with. I can’t say enough about CP employees all around that helped make sure that we could bring this situation under control.”

— with files from Global News’ Ben Harrietha

Sponsored content