Efforts continue to put out Ontario train fire


GOGAMA, Ont. – Efforts continue to put out a fire that erupted after a train carrying crude oil derailed in northern Ontario this weekend, just weeks after a similar incident in the area.

CN Rail says crews are working one car at a time and so far, 24 of the 38 cars that derailed on Saturday have been pulled clear of the main incident site.

First Nations and environmentalists have expressed alarm over the derailment near Gogama, Ont., about 80 kilometres south of Timmins, and voiced concerns about possible contamination.

The railway company has said two cars and some crude entered the Mattagami River System, but says booms have been installed downstream of the site.

It says ongoing air and water testing have found no issues at this point.

Last month a CN freight train derailed in the same area — 29 cars loaded with crude oil and petroleum distillates ran off the tracks and caused a fire.

France Gelinas, who represents Gogama and other Nickel Belt communities in the Ontario legislature, says the two recent incidents have shaken the community and made residents “nervous” about the railway they depend on for transportation.

“For the people of Gogama, it was a very close one,” she said of Saturday’s derailment.

“They all said, ‘What if it had been two kilometres this way, we wouldn’t be there (anymore),'” she said.

“This is a what-if that will be hard for a lot of people to forget and we need to have substantive changes so that people in Gogama and throughout the northeast can feel safe again.”