Area evacuated as fire breaks out at Port Coquitlam rail yard

Area evacuated as fire breaks out at Port Coquitlam rail yard

A semi-trailer truck carrying ethanol struck a train at the rail yard in Port Coquitlam on Monday, causing a massive explosion and fire around 6:30 p.m., according to the city.

The Coquitlam RCMP evacuated homes and businesses within 800 metres of the blaze and shut down the Lougheed Highway between Shaughnessy Street and Coast Meridian Road until further notice.

A portion of the Lougheed Highway was closed both ways between Shaughnessy Street and the Oxford Connector.

There were no reported injuries and the city said on Twitter that the truck driver and rail employees "are all safe".

The highway re-opened around midnight.

He says his crews left early Tuesday after allowing the ethanol to burn off from the tanker.

While the chief said Monday evening that no homes had been evacuated, a spokesperson for the city later said about 200 people were ordered from their homes.

He said while there were no toxic chemicals onboard the train, the risk of additional explosions was still high, prompting the evacuation of several residences.

"There's other cars with other fuels..." Just before 10 p.m., the city announced the fire was under control. "We also have diesel tanks on the train that are a concern for us as well". "If they decide to go, there's a problem there as well".

Fire broke out at approximately 6:40 p.m. when a tanker truck carrying ethanol collided with a rail vehicle and burst into flames, sending flames and plumes of smoke into the air that could be seen for kilometres.

Specialized foam trucks were called in from Abbotsford, the chief said. "[We're] trying to remove other stuff out of the way before we start trying to extinguish it".

According to other reports, the train hit the semi at the entrance to the yard.

Pictures from the scene on social media showed a sizeable blaze.



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