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.”
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.
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 “As the evacuation order has been rescinded, the reception centre at the Nobleford Community Complex has been closed.”
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.
In a 12:30 p.m. update, Lethbridge County officials said this was the worst leak the area has seen in some time.
“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.”
“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.”
Lorne Hickey from @LethCounty says the incident was a very close call. Other cars in the train were carrying anhydrous ammonia. If any of those cars had been leaked, Hickey says the size of evacuation area would have been at least doubled. #yql #trainderailed— Emily Olsen (@EmilyOlsen_4) September 2, 2019
Two of the three leaking cars have been cleaned up, however the remaining car is actually trapped under the others and the leak will take some time to get under control according to @LethCounty #yql #trainderailed— Emily Olsen (@EmilyOlsen_4) September 2, 2019
People in the area are being evacuated to Nobleford. I spoke to someone from Palliser Regiona School District who says they are looking at potentially evacuating students if the leak continues. #yql #trainderailed— Emily Olsen (@EmilyOlsen_4) September 2, 2019
–With files from Global News’ Phil Heidenreich