A Canadian freight train hauling crude oil and propane has derailed and caught fire in a thinly populated region of New Brunswick, leading local authorities to order evacuation of nearby homes.
Canadian National Railway spokesman Jim Feeny confirmed on Tuesday that some of the cars in the eastbound train were transporting dangerous cargo, including crude oil and propane, when it derailed late Tuesday evening.
The official further explained that the regularly scheduled freight train was on its way to Moncton from Central Canada when it encountered problems at about 7 p.m. nearly 150 kilometers northwest of Fredericton in northwest New Brunswick.
The emergency measures coordinator for the Plaster Rock community near the site of the derailment verified that the derailment had caused fire but did not explained how big the fire was and whether anyone was hurt.
"To the best of our knowledge, only a few cars are involved and we are not exactly sure what those cars are carrying," said the coordinator, Sharon DeWitt, who also announced the evacuation of homes in the immediate area of the derailment.
According to DeWitt, the train left its tracks about five kilometers from the village in a wooded area.
While there were unverified reports of an explosion following the derailment, the official expressed unawareness about any blast at the site.
Last July, 47 people were reported killed in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, when a train carrying crude oil derailed.
Another cargo train carrying fuel from North Dakota derailed and exploded in Alabama in November, causing no deaths but releasing an estimated 749,000 gallons of oil from 26 tanker cars.