Police say they’re investigating the exact cause of a collision between a semi-trailer truck carrying ethanol an a CP Rail train Monday night.
The collision, which took place at a rail yard in Port Coquitlam, caused a massive explosion and fire around 6:30 p.m., according to the city. Dozens of people were also evacuated.
“The tanker truck was carrying ethanol that ignited and led to a complete closure of the highway for several hours,” police said in a news release.
“The fire is now completely extinguished, no one was hurt, and all parties involved have been cooperative with police.”
Flames could be seen from far away, including bordering cities.
As of 10 p.m., the fire was under control.
“We can report the driver and CP Rail crew are all safe,” said the City of Port Coquitlam.
Coquitlam RCMP evacuated an 800 metre radius of the area. Lougheed Highway has been closed in botyh directions from Shaughnessy Street to the Oxford Connector.
“Confirmation from CP Rail there are no toxic materials being carried,” the city said.
“Fire crews remain on scene and are monitoring. Those evacuated outside of 800-metre radius may return home. This is north of the Lougheed Highway and between Shaughnessy Avenue and Oxford Street.”
The city reminds all residents to stay inside and avoid the area.
Emergency crews from neighbouring communities were put on standby. There were added reports that a small building was also on fire, while hydro lines and poles were ablaze, and fuel spilled on the ground, shooting off flames.
A makeshift command centre was set up nearby at the Gold’s Gym and paramedics were directed there to help with patients, if any.
CP Police and a CP Hazmat team were dispatched. There were initial reports a couple locomotives were involved in the collision with the semi.
According to other reports, the train hit the semi at the entrance to the yard.
Emergency crews were also looking into reports of a missing CP Rail employee, trying to verify that claim.
More video from Sean Meade:
According to CP, ethanol can be transported safely and reliably from major production areas in the Midwest U.S. to key consumer markets across the Northeast U.S. and Canada.