A section of Highway 16 east of Saskatoon is closed after a train derailment and fire early Monday morning.
Canadian Pacific Railway said the train hauling crude oil derailed west of Guernsey, Sask., at around midnight and no injuries were reported.
Officials have not said how many cars were involved or how many caught fire but said there are no evacuations at this time.
Truck driver Ken Popadynec drove by the crash shortly after it happened.
“I’m just driving down the highway and I’d seen the flame and all of a sudden I’m in the middle of smoke so thick that I had to stop on the highway,” Popadynec told radio station 650 CKOM.
“The flames, like it was so thick, I couldn’t see my headlights. It was so thick.”
Melanie Loessl was woken up by firefighters knocking on her door to advise her of the derailment and warn she may have to evacuate.
She then received a call from her daughter who lives down the road and right across from where the train derailed. Loessl went to her home and watched as flames and smoke rose into the sky.
“We couldn’t believe it,” she said. “We were thinking, ‘what if those other rail cars are going to blow up?'”
Loessl was unable to leave her home as she was trapped behind the blockade.
“The whole field across from our yard is full of trucks and campers and backhoes and bulldozers.”
CP said emergency and hazmat crews were sent to the scene to work with local first responders to minimize the impact on the surrounding area.
There is no impact on any local waterways, a CP spokesperson said.
Humboldt RCMP said the highway between Guernsey and Plunkett is closed until further notice due to a lack of visibility from the fire.
Traffic is being detoured south of Plunkett on Highway 365 toward Watrous, then north along Highway 668 to Guernsey.
CP said it has started an investigation into the cause of the derailment and the Transportation Safety Board of Canada said it is deploying a team to the site.
As of 3:15 p.m. CST Monday, the Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency (SPSA) said they expect to put out the remaining fire within eight to ten hours, according to a statement.
There is no concern around public safety and the plumes of smoke will also subside, the SPSA said at the time.
“Response teams are still focused on fire suppression and some crude oil cleanup work can safely begin,” the agency said.
The Ministry of Environment had not issued any advisories and continued to monitor air quality Monday afternoon. Environmental protection officers were monitoring and assessing the incident’s impact.
Guernsey is roughly 115 kilometres east of Saskatoon.