Saskatoon officials reflect on train derailment near Warman one year later
SASKATOON -- The Emergency Management Organization (EMO) and Saskatoon Fire Department are sharing what they learned from a major train derailment that happened north of the city a year ago.
“One of the challenges is always making sure that we have good coordination of services and response,” EMO director Pamela Goulden-McLeod said.
A 52-car CN train carrying grain veered off the tracks just before 9:30 a.m. on Jan. 22, 2019 and caught fire.
Emergency crews were at the scene, north of the intersection of Highway 11 and Wanuskewin Road, for about 17 hours.
While no one was hurt, the derailment shut down Highway 11 near Warman for several hours.
The Saskatoon Fire Department responded with 18 different fire apparatus and dozens of firefighters.
Saskatoon Fire Chief Morgan Hackl said they also collaborated with the Warman fire department.
“All the collaboration on scene with CN rail and all the other stakeholders – there were 28 stakeholders involved – went very smooth,” he said.
Goulden-McLeod said EMO is looking at ways to collaborate with other municipalities in future emergencies of this magnitude. They have realized that sometimes events affect a whole region rather than a single municipality, she said.
“And so, we've been working with some of our regional partners on more of a regional resilience plan and how do we work together and make sure our emergency management plans are interdependent and interoperable."
Saskatoon has railways running through it and emergency response personnel said they’ve recognized the hazards.
“We need to plan and make sure we’re prepared if there ever is an incident that occurs within the city of Saskatoon … We feel that we have very good resources in place and a very good proactive plan to mitigate that,” said Hackl.
Goulden-McLeod echoes this sentiment and said it’s a collaborative effort.
“We look at what the hazards might be around our city and we identify those hazards and then determine what we need to do to address those hazards. Here in Saskatoon, we do that through our partnerships with different organizations and our partnerships with the railways and with the other emergency response agencies,” she said.
Goulden-McLeod said the city is prepared should another derailment like this happen in or near Saskatoon.