A huge fireball captured on film by a volunteer firefighter caught clean up crews by surprise after a train derailed near Clair last year.
Around 3 a.m., two Canadian National Railway senior hazmat crews were attempting to burn off 400 litres of petroleum product which leaked from a tank that tipped over during clean up of the 26-car derailment on Oct. 7, 2014.
“They threw the flare and the video tells it all. Kind of went a little sideways,” said Brian Weber, who filmed the video which was posted to the Wadena Volunteer Fire Department Facebook page last month.
Weber said the blast from the explosion knocked one man back around 20 feet while the other ducked under the fireball and was protected by his gear. No one was seriously injured.
Seeing one of the men go down, Weber called out ‘man down’ and fire crews put down the camera and sprung into action.
Weber said crews decided burning off the fuel would be the safest option because they didn’t want it to leak into a nearby creek. They thought all the fuel had leaked out of the tank because it wasn’t burning, but some heated residue was left in the bottom.
The 100-car train was traveling between Saskatoon and Winnipeg when it derailed one kilometer east of Clair, two hours east of Saskatoon. Two of the cars carrying petroleum products caught fire, sending huge plums of smoke in the air. The Rural Municipality of Lakeview temporarily declared a state of emergency and nearby residents were evacuated for a day.
Weber said during his 24 years as deputy chief, this is the most exciting thing he’s seen. He said he waited one year to post the video out of the respect of the men involved and because CN wanted to use the video to investigate the incident and use it for training purposes.
This video was taken Oct 8/14 at Clair ,Sask. During the CNR train derail and explosion. During the evacuation people ignored the warning to stay outside the safety zone to take pictures or to get a loser look. 80,000 gal of petroleum based product was evolved ,during salvage @ 150 leaked out a crack in the tank…this shows how dangerous a controlled flare by hazmat can get… The Hazmat crew survived because of the gear we use……they call this a “near miss “
Posted by Wadena Volunteer Fire Department on Saturday, November 14, 2015