Train derails in northwestern Ontario near Emo and is leaking crude oil

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Global's Malika Karim reports on a train derailment in northern Ontario, near the Town of Emo – Feb 21, 2020

A train has derailed near a northwestern Ontario town and several of the railcars are leaking crude oil.

CN Rail confirmed the derailment Wednesday morning and said Highway 602 had been blocked. The derailment happened at about 8:30 p.m. EST Tuesday.

Emo is 136 km southeast of Kenora, near the Canada-U.S. border.

READ MORE: Guernsey, Sask. evacuated after CP freight train derailment

“At this time local emergency responders and provincial authorities are on-site and CN crews are responding,” said CN.

“Preliminary reports indicate that there are approximately 30 railcars derailed in various positions and there are several railcars leaking crude oil.  Preliminary reports are that no product has entered a waterway.

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“There is no fire and no injuries are reported.  As a precaution, local responders have evacuated residents near the site. The cause of the incident is under investigation.”

The company told The Canadian Press 26 cars were carrying crude oil at the time of the derailment and at least two are leaking oil.

Fire Chief Joshua Calling of the local fire and emergency service said the spilled oil hasn’t moved very far from the cars, and doesn’t appear to have reached any nearby waterways.

“Physically on the ground, visually, we haven’t seen any change, or movement or advancement whatsoever,” he told Global News.

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“These colder temperatures, with crude oil, it starts to solidify and usually stays in one spot.”

A resident of Emo told Global News that the power was shut off to the townsite as a precaution to prevent possible fires.

When reached Wednesday morning Emo Mayor Harold McQuaker said the spill had been contained.

“CN, of course, will proceed to get the rail bed open and then the clean up begins,” he said.

“There’s very professional people on site, everything’s being looked after in a very timely fashion.”

McQuaker said a school near the derailment site was temporarily closed and a few nearby homes had been evacuated.

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Crude oil is leaking near Emo, Ont. Google Maps

He confirmed power has been shut off for some living near the derailment site, but said he expects it to be restored by end of the day Wednesday.

Provincial police issued an evacuation order for anyone within 800 metres of the site, but CN said everyone affected has since been allowed to return home.

The OPP confirmed the evacuation had been lifted in a statement sent out Wednesday afternoon.

“Further, Highway 602 remains closed and is unpassable. Persons who need to travel in this area will need to take alternate routes and use Highway 613 to access those areas. It is unknown when Highway 602 at the CNR crossing will be open and usable for the public.”

The Transportation Safety Board said they have investigators en route.

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–With files from Shane Gibson

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