‘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)

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

Pacific Coastal won’t open until community is ready

The company has suspended operations until further notice

A second wave of COVID-19 is probable, if history tells us anything

B.C.’s top doctor says that what health officials have learned this round will guide response in future

Celebrations continue for Tsilhqot’in Nation after court victory against Taskeo Mines Ltd.

Supreme Court of Canada upholds 2014 decision rejecting New Prosperity mine on May 14, 2020

UPDATE: body of missing man located

Jerret Snow was last seen May 19

Kelowna man charged with harming a hamster

The 20-year-old Kelowna man faces several animal cruelty charges

High tech fish transport system set up to ‘whoosh’ salmon past Big Bar landslide

Fish will spend roughly 20 seconds inside the system, moving at roughly 20 metres per second

Trudeau to seek 10 days of paid sick leave for Canadian workers, says talks are ongoing

Paid sick leave is key to keeping COVID-19 spread under control, prime minister says

COVID-19 checkpoints ‘up to them,’ Bonnie Henry says of remote B.C. villages

Support local tourism economy, but only if you’re invited in

Vancouver Island hasn’t seen a new homegrown case of COVID-19 in two weeks

Island’s low and steady transmission rate chalked up to several factors

Eight people arrested in Victoria homeless camp after enforcement order issued

Those living in tents were given until May 20 to move indoors

Andrew Weaver says he was ready to defeat John Horgan government

Independent MLA blasts B.C. Greens over LNG opposition

44% fewer passengers flew on Canadian airlines in March 2020 than in 2019

COVID-19 pandemic has hit airlines hard as travel remains low

Most Read