People forced to leave their homes because of a train derailment north of Edmonton could begin returning home after 7 p.m., Sturgeon County officials said Sunday evening.
In a news release, officials also confirmed what witnesses told Global News earlier: some of the train cars were carrying oil.
“The rail cars were carrying crude and two of the cars leaked a small amount of product,” they said in a news release. “Thirty to 50 litres.
“CN personnel did an assessment of the area and determined that there is no apparent danger.”
Officials said emergency services remained at the scene and that cleanup efforts would continue for the next few days.
Emergency officials asked residents of an area of Sturgeon County north of Edmonton — near St. Albert — to leave their homes on Sunday afternoon after a train derailed near the Sturgeon Road crossing.
The RCMP was going door-to-door telling residents of the communities of Noroncal and Crossing at River’s Edge they had to leave their homes.
Sturgeon County officials issued a statement shortly before 5 p.m. in which they said 46 homes in the Sturgeon Valley were affected by the “precautionary” evacuation. A reception centre had been set up for evacuees at Namao Hall, which is located at 24400 Hwy 37.
Patrick Potter lives in the area and told Global News it happened behind his yard just before 1:30 p.m. and that about 10 cars appeared to go off the tracks. The derailed cars appeared to be tanker cars.
“There’s literally a train derailment in my backyard,” Potter said, adding that a substance that looked like oil appeared to be leaking from the cars. “When I walked up on the tracks to check if the conductor was OK, you could see that some of the cars were leaking.”
Watch below: Evacuations were underway north of Edmonton on Sunday afternoon after a train derailed. The video below was shot by a man who lives near the train tracks and shows multiple cars piled up.
Potter’s roommate, Teri Gosselin, said the derailment was unsettling.
“I was just having lunch and then we heard this crazy noise and then I looked out the window and all the cars were stacked together,” Gosselin said, adding it also looked to her as though the cars were leaking oil. She said a crew member told them to leave the area because of concern about flammable materials.
“The whole neighbourhood’s concerned,” Gosselin said.
In an email, CN told Global News it has activated its emergency response plan and has crews responding to the train derailment. The company said no injuries were reported.
The RCMP said 12 cars derailed.
“We are mobilizing all of our resources to respond to this incident and are working alongside local emergency responders as we conduct a full assessment of the situation,” the company said.
Potter commended police for how they handled the evacuation notifications.