February 19th, 2020

Crews continue to clean up Irvine derailment, backlog of trains building

By Mo Cranker on August 3, 2019.

Shane Roth grabbed this photo of a derailed train near Dunmore Friday before evacuating his home with his family. -- SUBMITTED PHOTO

Medicine Hat News

With the highway open and Irvine-area residents allowed back home, crews continue to clean up a train derailment that happened Friday evening.

The train derailed Friday after 3 p.m. and a chemical spill forced the evacuation of everyone in a six-kilometre radius of Irvine.

Access to the Hamlet reopened after 10 p.m. Friday, allowing people to drive back home and continue on with their normal lives.

What the town and CP Rail are facing now is a large train buildup waiting to make its way through the hamlet, whenever the tracks are cleared.

“It’s life back to normal for everyone, but people can expect more noise than usual as things continue to get worked out,” said director of emergency services Kim Dalton. “Crews worked through the night and continue to work through (Saturday) morning. They detangled the five cars that were on top of each other and they had track intertwined with them.

“There’s an arrangement of dozers, excavators and equipment from around the country here trying to get things back to normal.”

Dalton says there is a backup of trains from Irvine to Medicine Hat that will need to make its way through the Hamlet — meaning residents will be hearing the increased volume of trains.

Around 200 people checked into the Cypress County office Friday and 75 residents relied on Red Cross for a place to stay over night.

“People handled this really well,” said Dalton. “Obviously everyone is concerned about family or pets that were left at home — also some people were unable to evacuate because they don’t have transportation. Our staff worked well with everyone to assist the evacuation.”

Dalton says there has been no official confirmation on what caused the derailment.

The News is working to contact CP Rail to find the cause of the derailment and what the chemical was that spilled.

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