WAPSKE, N.B. – The Department of Public Safety's Emergency Measures Organization (EMO) responded to a train derailment near Plaster Rock this morning. A fire continues to burn at the site.
At 8:10 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 7, EMO activated its Provincial Emergency Operations Centre after being notified by first responders of the derailment in Wapske.
The Plaster Rock volunteer fire department is at the scene and other fire departments are on standby for support. HAZMAT assets have also been dispatched to the scene.
The incident site is secured by RCMP.
EMO has regional staff on the ground and has activated a regional operations centre in the area. Staff in the Fredericton continue to provide support.
The Regional Fire Marshall is in place with the Plaster Rock volunteer fire department and will co-ordinate fire suppression activities.
The evacuation zone remains closed off and is secured by RCMP. The evacuation zone is a two-kilometre radius from the incident site.
About 50 to 60 residents were evacuated in a two-kilometre radius from the fire.
An evacuation site remains open at the Tobique Plex. The Red Cross continues to provide service at this centre.
At this time EMO is advising the public to avoid the area while first responders deal with the situation.
Residents of Plaster Rock are advised to check their voicemail for emergency messages from Plaster Rock Emergency Measures Organization. If you need help or information, contact the Plaster Rock EMO at 1-506-356-6071.
Canadian National has indicated that if the evacuation of local homes is prolonged, it will provide hotel rooms for evacuees.
The Provincial Emergency Operations Centre is monitoring the smoke from the fire, which is currently moving east into a largely-uninhabited area. The Department of Health is advising the public of a possible effect on air quality east of this area.
Dr. Yves Léger, regional medical officer of health, says residents should take precautions when heavy smoke affects air quality.
"Infants, children, pregnant women, older adults, smokers and people with chronic heart or lung diseases should stay indoors to reduce their exposure to the outdoor air," said Léger.
Minor smoke conditions do not typically cause health concerns in most healthy individuals. However, if smoke conditions become more severe, people may experience irritation of eyes, throat and possibly shortness of breath. Individuals should adapt their activities as necessary.
EMO advises the public to continue to monitor public alerts at www2.gnb.ca/content/gnb/en/news/public_alerts.html