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42 tonnes of petroleum coke spilled in CN derailment near Prince George

An aerial photo from the scene of a train derailment near Prince George.
An aerial photo from the scene of a train derailment near Prince George. Submitted

CN Rail now says a “a small amount” of petroleum coke was spilled into a creek in Giscome, northeast of Prince George when a train derailed in the area on Thursday.

The incident led to the evacuation of a nearby elementary school on Thursday. The school remained closed on Friday.

The B.C. Ministry of Environment says CN responders have begun cleanup of an estimated 42 tonnes of petroleum coke which spilled in the vicinity of Hay Creek.

A containment boom is also being deployed in the creek, the Ministry said.

The track was cleared Friday afternoon, but road access was to be restricted to emergency vehicles until Saturday afternoon, it said.

CN says the train derailed around 9:30 a.m. at a rail crossing about 100 metres from Giscome Elementary.

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The school was evacuated, with 30 students and staff sent to a nearby church as a precaution. There were no reports of injuries.

READ MORE: ‘Small amount’ of potash spilled after train derailment near B.C.-Alberta border

The district said parents are being notified of the derailment and subsequent evacuation, saying they can pick up their kids at Willow River Church or have them transported to Blackburn Elementary for the rest of the day.

In a statement, CN Rail said crews are responding to a derailment involving approximately 20 railcars near prince George. The company initially said there was no danger to the public as there are no fires, injuries or leaks of product.

A team from the Transportation Safety Board has also been deployed to the site.

CN Rail says it is investigating what caused the derailment.

— With files from CKPG and the Canadian Press