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Evacuation order lifted in southern Alberta hours after train derails, leaks octane

WATCH: Rail cars were leaking octane after a derailment in southern Alberta Monday morning, prompting road closures and evacuations.

An evacuation order prompted by a train derailment in southern Alberta was lifted on Monday afternoon.

Fire crews from Barons, Picture Butte, Nobleford and Coalhurst responded to a train derailment at Highway 23 and Township Road 120 on Monday.

“There are rail cars currently leaking octane,” the county said in a message on Facebook shortly after 10 a.m.

“Fire crews remain on scene working to contain the leak.”

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The derailment happened south of the village of Barons, which is about 45 kilometres northwest of Lethbridge.

CP Rail said the derailment happened at approximately 7:40 a.m.

“CP has deployed teams and equipment to the site,” the company said in an email to Global News.

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An evacuation was ordered just before 11 a.m. for everyone from Highway 23 west to Range Road 23-5, Highway 23 east to Range Road 23-2, and Township Road 12-2 south to Township Road 11-4, an Alberta Emergency Alert  said. The evacuation order includes the Keho Lake area and the Keho Lake campground.

The evacuated area was about two kilometres in size, according to the county. The village of Barons was outside that zone but was put on evacuation notice as a precaution.

The evacuation order was lifted at 4 p.m., Lethbridge County officials said in a news release.

“Fire crews in co-ordination with CP Rail have contained the octane leak from the overturned rail cars,” officials said. “As the evacuation order has been rescinded, the reception centre at the Nobleford Community Complex has been closed.”

READ MORE: 20 homes in Millrise evacuated after major gas leak, Calgary police say

Highway 23 was shut down between Township Road 114 and Township Road 122 and traffic was being rerouted westbound.

“Please stay away from the area for your safety,” the county said. No injuries were reported.

Watch below: Residents of a small community in southern Alberta have been allowed back home after they were forced to leave earlier on Monday following a train derailment. Emily Olsen reports.

Octane leaks from train cars after derailment in southern Alberta
Octane leaks from train cars after derailment in southern Alberta

In a 12:30 p.m. update, Lethbridge County officials said this was the worst leak the area has seen in some time.

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“The cars that were leaking were octane and it is a flammable liquid,” Reeve Lorne Hickey said. “I think it’s an additive for gasoline.”

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“No timeline yet on when the situation will be resolved,” Hickey added. “They currently have two cars stopped leaking and are working on the third.

“The car that’s leaking is underneath a couple other cars so they’re having to lift those cars off to get to the one that’s leaking.”

Had different train cars derailed, the situation could have been worse, the reeve said.

“The other cars involved were anhydrous ammonia, which they would have had to double the site they’d have to evacuate if that was the case.”

Drivers on Highway 23 in Alberta were detoured after a train derailment between Barons and Nobleford.
Drivers on Highway 23 in Alberta were detoured after a train derailment between Barons and Nobleford. Emily Olsen, Global News
Traffic being rerouted after a train derailment near Barons, Alta. on Monday, Sept. 2, 2019.
Traffic being rerouted after a train derailment near Barons, Alta. on Monday, Sept. 2, 2019. Emily Olsen, Global News
Drivers on Highway 23 in Alberta were detoured after a train derailment between Barons and Nobleford.
Drivers on Highway 23 in Alberta were detoured after a train derailment between Barons and Nobleford. Courtesy: Tanya McPhee
Drivers on Highway 23 in Alberta were detoured after a train derailment between Barons and Nobleford.
Drivers on Highway 23 in Alberta were detoured after a train derailment between Barons and Nobleford. Courtesy: Tanya McPhee

–With files from Global News’ Phil Heidenreich

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