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Collapse sounded 'like a bomb went off'

By: Arron Pickard - Sudbury Northern Life

 | Jun 02, 2013 - 3:28 PM |

Rail cargo poses 'no immediate threat' to the public, police say

While police say there is no immediate threat to public safety from a release of potentially hazardous goods after five rail cars on a Canadian Pacific train plunged into the Wanapitei River this morning when a trestle collapsed, work is still being done to identify just what those train cars contained, said the city's community emergency management co-ordinator. 


"We are working with CP, police and fire to see what they need on site, and to get a better picture of what was in the cars, and the potential threat for residents in the area," said Lynn Fortin. "CP has the manifest of what was contained in every car.
 

A train car with various items is seen floating through the Wanapitae River today, after a train was derailed when a trestle on a bridge spanning the river collapsed.

A train car with various items is seen floating through the Wanapitae River today, after a train was derailed when a trestle on a bridge spanning the river collapsed. Photo by Miranda Short.


No one was injured in the incident.

 

The Sudbury and District Health Unit has issued a drinking water advisory effective immediately for residents who draw their water from the Wanapitei River downriver from the train trestle east of Wanup. Chemicals contained on the train could be harmful if ingested.

"As a precaution, we are asking residents to not drink the water, not only because of what is in the containers, but because of the gas and oil from the train cars that leaks into the water," said Fortin.

Water is being provided through the city's four filling stations, she said.

"It's a fairly rural area, so I'm not sure how many residents have been affected," she said.

Fortin said she isn't sure how many cars were contained in the two-mile long train, but the first two made it over the bridge before it collapsed.
 

Trains car with various items are seen floating through the Wanapitae River today, after a train was derailed when a trestle on a bridge spanning the river collapsed.

A train car with various items is seen floating through the Wanapitae River today, after a train was derailed when a trestle on a bridge spanning the river collapsed. Photo by Miranda Short.


The collapse occurred at around 10 a.m. this morning, said a resident along Highway 537, who asked not to be identified. She was in the shower when she hear what "sounded like a bomb went off."

"I ran out to the river bank, and that's when I saw the bridge on an angle, with a train car hanging off of it, and other cars and debris floating in the river.

"It was a shock."

She said she left her house to go and find one of the train cars that had floated past her house, and when she got back to her road, police weren't allowing anyone past a road block.

For CP and emergency crews, the top priority right now is to get the train cars removed from the site.

"CP is already looking at that, and as soon as more information comes in, we will share it."

An investigation into what actually cause the trestle to break can't happen until all of the cars are removed, she said.

Arron Pickard

Arron Pickard

Staff Writer

@ArronPickard

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