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Evacuation notice lifted after train derailment in southeastern Alberta

Last Updated Aug 3, 2019 at 7:41 am MDT

A train derailed Friday afternoon near Irvine, AB. Residents within a 4-mile radius were told to evacuate. Credit - Trehia May, Facebook

IRVINE (660 NEWS) — An evacuation order has now been lifted from an area near a small southern Alberta community.

A freight train derailed east of Medicine Hat Friday, near the community of Irvine.

An Alberta Emergency Alert was issued in Cypress County due to concerns about chemical exposure, but Canadian Pacific and Alberta Emergency Alert rescinded the evacuation notice just before 11 p.m.

CP was working with fire officials and local government to respond to the incident, where two cars carrying styrene were leaking at a minimal rate from their top valves; those small leaks have been contained.

No cars in the crash have been breached and the investigation into the cause is still ongoing.

As crews continue to monitor the site, residents of Irvine are now able to return to the community after the notice was lifted.

The derailment, which happened around 3:20 on Friday afternoon, involved chemical exposure, highway access and damage along the railway line.

RCMP spokesperson Fraser Logan says officers and resources have been dispatched to the town to assist with the evacuation.

“My understanding is there are some highly flammable substances on-board and because of that the fire chief call for a mandatory evacuation for the town of Irvine,” Logan said.

People living within a seven-kilometre radius were told to evacuate and report to a reception centre set up at the Cypress County Administration Office located at 816 Second Avenue in the hamlet of Dunmore.

Highway 1, which was closed in both directions to traffic for about six hours, has been reopened Highway 41 North and the hamlet of Walsh.

 

One person who came across the derailment about five minutes after it happened says she could see the smoke for miles as she made her way from the east on the Trans Canada.

Trehia Stevenson, who was headed home to Lethbridge, says at first it looked like a large grass fire.

“When I got closer it was roughly a dozen train cars that were piled up, half of them were piled up on each other and the other half were lying side-ways in the ditch and there was a car that was on fire at the time and a huge grass fire,” Stevenson said.

Stevenson says emergency crews were not yet on the scene when she drove past it.

Canadian Pacific has confirmed it is one of its trains and that they have teams on site.

There is no report of any injuries.

Train literally just crashed in Irvine

Posted by Trehia May on Friday, August 2, 2019

Irvine is located about 330 kilometres southeast of Calgary.