Fire Chief Recalls Fiery Oil Train Derailment: ‘I have never seen anything more terrifying’

(The Commoner Call photo by Mark L. Taylor, 2017. Open source and free to use with link to www.the )


(Editor’s Note: Keep in mind the oil train in this story is the same kind of trains we have rolling through the heart of many cities – like La Crosse, WI – and thousands of small towns and villages across the nation. Really, it is time to move to non-fossil fuel energy energy. From wellhead to car gas tank, oil is a growing disaster. – Mark L. Taylor)



By Jeff Klasen
Bay Today (2/4/17)

It’s been almost two years since the Canadian National Railway (CN) train carrying crude oil from Alberta oil sands derailed just outside the town of Gogama, spilling an estimated 1 million litres of crude oil.

Gogama fire Chief Mike Benson was the first responder on the night of the derailment on March 7, 2015, and in command of the scene for the first 11 days.

In a recent interview, Benson candidly spoke about what that evening was like. …

“…The rail cars were blowing up; torching 300 feet into the sky. Those were new oil cars with enhanced fancy end caps that they thought were going to replace older DOT-111 cars and prevent a spill if a derailment happens. The ends of these cars were blowing off like tin cans. We heard seven cars blow off in like an hour. When they blew it was the loudest noise you heard in your life. It was accompanied by heavy, heavy black smoke. It was such a catastrophic thing. …” [Emphasis added.]

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