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Emo residents asked to reduce power consumption in wake of CN derailment


(Updated Feb. 21)

The township of Emo is asking residents to reduce electricity consumption in the aftermath of Tuesday evening’s CN derailment.

Residents residing east of the Hwy 602 crossing and south of Hwy 11, between Emo and Devlin, may experience power outages or surges throughout Thursday evening and Friday morning.

Hydro One has confirmed that the derailed train disrupted power lines. To maintain electrical supply, a by-pass line was constructed to re-route power while the main line is reconstructed. Hydro is expected to be fully functional by Saturday afternoon.

Some residents are also without Bell service. Anyone aware of a friend or family member without access to 911 is asked to notify the municipal office, according to the Township of Emo.

At approximately 8:30 p.m. Feb. 18, a CN train derailed near Emo, at Highway 602, south of the Trans Canada Highway.

The crash blocked the crossing at the 602, which will remain closed through next week as clean-up and remediation take place, according to the Township of Emo.

During the incident, 33 railcars derailed in various positions, with 26 being tank cars. Of those, four have been confirmed to be leaking, and a fifth is suspected to be leaking. The amount of crude spilled has yet to be determined. CN crews will remain on site until the clean-up is complete, and the site is returned to its original state, according to CN officials. The Township of Emo is warning residents that they will see an increase in local traffic, as oil is removed from tankers and transported offsite.

Local fire crews have been on site since Tuesday to ensure public safety and to offer protection to personnel, according to fire chief Joshua Colling. Because the site is secured and limited to workers, fire staff from Emo, Chapple and Devlin have been serving rotating shifts on stand-by.

“They’re running a safe operation,” Colling said of remediation crews.

The federal government has deployed an investigator from the Transportation Safety Board to launch a formal investigation into the cause of the crash. The cause won’t be known until that investigation is complete, according to CN.

In the immediate aftermath of the crash, firefighters and police imposed an 800 metre evacuation zone, which was lifted Wednesday afternoon. Donald Young school was closed to students Wednesday, but was reopened on Thursday. The Emo landfill is closed for Saturday, and curbside collection is cancelled for Friday.

As of Thursday evening, CN crews had removed the derailed cars and replaced damaged track. Trains began running at 10 p.m.

“CN would like to thank the emergency responders, and local and provincial authorities. We apologize for the disruption this incident is causing the citizens of Emo and thank them for their patience,” said a spokesperson for CN in a release Friday morning.

According to the township of Emo, trains will be operating at a reduced speed, and residents are told to expect extended waits at crossings. Residents are also reminded to stay off the rails.

Initial investigations indicated that no drinking water has been affected by the spill, and no crude entered the ground, according to press releases from both Emo and CN.

“The township of Emo wishes to acknowledge the contributions of the volunteers, businesses, organizations and neighbouring municipalities who have generously assisted us throughout this incident. Your generosity has been greatly appreciated.”

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