BRITISH COLUMBIA

Langley Township Trained For Derailments, Says Mayor

07/06/2013 08:45 EDT | Updated 09/06/2013 05:12 EDT
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Firefighters douse blazes after a freight train loaded with oil derailed in Lac-Megantic in Canada's Quebec province on July 6, 2013, sparking explosions that engulfed about 30 buildings in fire. At least 80 people are missing after a driverless oil tanker train derailed and exploded in the small Canadian town of Lac-Megantic, destroying dozens of buildings, a firefighter back from the scene told AFP. AFP PHOTO / François Laplante-Delagrave (Photo credit should read François Laplante-Delagrave/AFP/Getty Images)
The mayor of Langley Township says they are prepared to handle accidents like the devastating train derailment that sparked explosions and a major blaze in a small town in Quebec's Eastern Townships on Saturday.

The train, which was carrying crude oil, rolled away overnight after it was parked by an engineer. It derailed in the heart of tight-knit community of Lac-Mégantic, Que., forcing close to 2,000 people from their homes.

- Read more about Quebec train derailment

Mayor Jack Froese lives in a building right next to the train tracks and says the B.C. township has a full-time fire department trained for derailments like the one in Quebec.

"We have four halls, full-time halls, plus our paid on-call members. And they have a plan in place so if there's a derailment they come down, basically they'd be the first responders to deal with it," he said.

But with the number of freight trains transporting potentially dangerous material right through Langley increasing every year, resident Marilyn Brookes says all the traffic can be unnerving.

"They go so fast," she said. "The speed, especially when there are two of them, it's actually kind of frightening. You think if anything derailed or anything it would really be a disastrous situation."

Two years ago, Canadian National Railway and Canadian Pacific Railway moved a total of 18,000 thousand cars of crude oil.

Last year, that number jumped to more than 83,000 cars.

Froese says the township holds regular meetings with both railway corporations about cargo concerns.

"They're going to be here for a long time, they're getting longer, they're getting more frequent. They were here first. We have to live with them, but we have to be prepared also," he said.

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