Derailment forces evacuation of area residents

Sueann Musick
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MONTREAL ROAD – Cathy Thompson’s life took an unexpected turn Monday afternoon when she was told train cars near her home had derailed.

The Montreal Road resident, who lives about two kilometres from the derailment site of six cars carrying propane, was one of the evacuees from the Lansdowne area forced to spend the night in a local hotel with her two children and boyfriend.

“When I got home Monday night there was an RCMP officer sitting at the end of my driveway and he said I couldn't go into my house,” she said.

She went to her boyfriend’s mother’s house to find her children there since they couldn’t get off the school bus at home and waited for word on what to do next.

“The news kind of shook me up,” she said.

By 8:30 p.m. Thompson said she was told they were being put at a local hotel for the night so she rushed to Walmart for a few overnight supplies.

Thompson said the family was treated well and fed pizza when they arrived at the hotel. She didn’t know how many other families were evacuated in the area but she said 15 pizzas were at the hotel.

On Tuesday, the local fire department gave the family permission to return to their home for a few supplies during which time they crated up the cat and chickens to be boarded at a friend’s house until they were allowed back home permanently.

Good news came Tuesday afternoon when Thompson was told she was allowed to return to her home.

Dave Leese of Lansdowne wasn’t evacuated because of the derailment but he was one of the first people on the scene Monday.

“It was an awful mess of twisted steel,” he said, adding he learned of the derailment from a local firefighter.

The train was travelling from Stellarton to Truro at the time. RCMP, EMO, New Glasgow Fire Department HAZMAT and officials from the Cape Breton and Central Nova Scotia Railway responded to the derailment and remain scene at this time.

Two people were on board the train and there are no reports of any injuries. Six containers left the tracks which contained a butane/propane mix, commonly referred to as Liquid Odourless Propane.

“We need to determine the cause of the derailment,” said CBNS president Mario Brault. “There is no point in shooting in all directions. We will narrow down the cause for the sake of the population. It’s not good to have derailment but at least there’s no leak."

Organizations: RCMP, Walmart, Central Nova Scotia Railway

Geographic location: Montreal Road, Stellarton, Cape Breton

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