‘We were very scared:’ Woman describes fiery derailment near Lanigan, Sask.

No injuries were reported and evacuations had not been ordered

Emergency crew respond to CP Rail train hauling crude oil that derailed near Guernsey, Sask. on Monday, December 9, 2019. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Liam Richards)

Emergency crew respond to CP Rail train hauling crude oil that derailed near Guernsey, Sask. on Monday, December 9, 2019. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Liam Richards)

A woman who witnessed the aftermath of a crude oil freight train derailment in central Saskatchewan says the only other time she’s seen flames like that was on television.

Melanie Loessl lives on a rural property about six kilometres from Guernsey near where Canadian Pacific Railway reported a train had derailed about midnight Sunday.

Loessl’s land runs along the railway tracks and she says she’s so used to the sound of trains she didn’t hear anything.

But when she emerged from her home about 1:45 a.m., after firefighters arrived on her property, she saw a roaring blaze at the end of her driveway.

“You could hear the hissing and noise from the cars that were on fire and there was just an enormous amount of flames. You couldn’t imagine it,” she said Monday.

“I was in awe.”

READ MORE: Faulty coupling cited as cause of fatal B.C. logging train derailment

Loessl said she went to see her daughter, who lives nearby, and they talked to firefighters about where to go if they needed to leave.

“We were very scared. We didn’t know if the cars would actually blow up or what they would do.”

CP said in a statement no injuries were reported and evacuations had not been ordered.

Loessl said she had been asked to leave as a precaution around 4 a.m. because the direction of the wind could change, but she returned home about six hours later.

“It’s just so black and it smells really bad,” she said.

The fire was burning close to the road. CP said emergency response and haz-mat crews had been deployed and were working with first responders to assess and minimize any impact to the surrounding area.

RCMP blocked traffic on Highway 16 between Guernsey and Plunkett because of smoke from the blaze. The highway was still closed Monday afternoon.

READ MORE: B.C. train that derailed and killed three ‘just started moving on its own’

The Saskatchewan government said fire crews were expected to extinguish the fire later Monday and that the smoke would subside. Oil cleanup was also to begin.

It said environmental protection officers were monitoring the site and the air quality, but no advisories had been issued.

“At this time there is no concern to public safety,” said a government statement.

CP said an investigation was underway into the cause of the derailment. There was no immediate word on how many rail cars were involved.

Loessl said there was too much smoke to see how many train cars went off the tracks, but it appeared to have happened at a crossing.

“I just see a pile of cars,” she said.

“At the end of my driveway, I cannot look across to the east because the smoke is so black you cannot see anything.”

She believes some oil may have spilled at the end of her pasture and is worried about the possibility of her wells having been contaminated.

CP said initial reports indicated there was no impact on any waterways. Crews were working to clean up, remove derailed cars and restore the area.

— By Stephanie Taylor in Regina

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Cariboo Regional District has launched a broadband survey for residents, businesses and organizations. (Monica Lamb-Yorski Photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Cariboo Regional District launches broadband connectivity survey

Paper copies of the survey will be available beginning Dec. 2

Forestry Ink columnist Jim Hilton. (File Photo)
FORESTRY INK: Responsible use of herbicides

Columnist Jim Hilton writes about the issue of spraying herbicides like glyphosate

This screenshot from the City of Quesnel website shows where paving took place during the 2020 season. (City of Quesnel website)
City of Quesnel completed overlay paving at five sites in 2020

The season’s work was completed within a budget of $375,000

Correlieu Secondary School students Hanna Fitchett, Justin Pugh and Jaeana Dumais (missing from photo) were recently recognized by the Quesnel and District Arts Council for their poetry submissions to the community writing contest. The students’ work was inspired by the novel Wenjack and the film The Secret Path. (Photo Submitted)
LETTER: Quesnel high school students’ poetry recognized

CSS thanks the Quesnel and District Arts Council and its community writing contest partners

The director of the Wells Snowmobile Club, Dexter Knorr, shared what is in his safety kit when sledding. Included are spare parts for his machine, like sparkplugs, and specially-designed tow ropes. (Submitted Photo)
Wells Snowmobile Club director shares tips for safe sledding

Two Prince George men were recently stranded on Yanks Peak, one overnight

(Dave Landine/Facebook)
VIDEO: Dashcam captures head-on crash between snowplow and truck on northern B.C. highway

Driver posted to social media that he walked away largely unscathed

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

Langley RCMP issued a $2,300 fine to the Riverside Calvary church in Langley in the 9600 block of 201 Street for holding an in-person service on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020, despite a provincial COVID-19 related ban (Dan Ferguson/Black Press Media)
Langley church fined for holding in-person Sunday service

Calvary church was fined $2,300 for defying provincial order

A pedestrian makes their way through the snow in downtown Ottawa on Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Wild winter, drastic swings in store for Canada this year: Weather Network

In British Columbia and the Prairies, forecasters are calling for above-average snowfall levels

NDP Leader John Horgan, left, speaks as local candidate Ravi Kahlon listens during a campaign stop at Kahlon’s home in North Delta, B.C., on April 18, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
A B.C. Ambulance Service paramedic wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 moves a stretcher outside an ambulance at Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Top doctor urges Canadians to limit gatherings as ‘deeply concerning’ outbreaks continue

Canada’s active cases currently stand at 63,835, compared to 53,907 a week prior

A Canadian Pacific freight train travels around Morant’s Curve near Lake Louise, Alta., on Monday, Dec. 1, 2014. A study looking at 646 wildlife deaths along the railway tracks in Banff and Yoho national parks in Alberta and British Columbia has found that train speed is one of the biggest factors. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Study finds train speed a top factor in wildlife deaths in Banff, Yoho national parks

Research concludes effective mitigation could address train speed and ability of wildlife to see trains

A airport worker is pictured at Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C. Wednesday, March 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Canada extends COVID restrictions for non-U.S. travellers until Jan. 21 amid second wave

This ban is separate from the one restricting non-essential U.S. travel

Menno Place. (Google Street View image.)
B.C. care home looks to hire residents’ family members amid COVID-19-related staff shortage

Family would get paid as temporary workers, while having chance to see loved ones while wearing PPE

Most Read