"First responders and customers across our network have understanding of the expertise and equipment CP has available in the event of an emergency because of the training we provide in communities small and large. This event reiterated the importance of our relationships in these communities and with our industry customers." - Jon Gardiner, CP's Hazardous Materials Officer
The morning of Monday, October 22 a call came in to Winnipeg's 911 call centre. A fire at Pounder Emulsions' asphalt plant, just outside the city in the RM of Springfield, was sending thick black smoke into the sky. A tank holding asphalt was on fire. Because the plant is adjacent to CP's main line, rail traffic was stopped.
The problem with a dangerous goods fire like this is many communities don't have the specialized equipment to handle an incident of this magnitude. The Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service (WFPS), working alongside Springfield Fire Rescue Service, put out a call for help and agencies, including CP, responded. Providing mutual aid to stakeholders, customers and the communities we operate in is a core tenet of CP's
emergency preparedness and response strategy.
The assets and expertise CP can provide is offered to support the protection of life, safety and environment for the public and railroaders.
CP's Jon Gardiner sent six contractors, a foam trailer with extra foam and our Emergency Operations Trailer to help WFPS. While most of our assets weren't needed in the end, we had them and we offered them. CP's most significant contribution to the response was our RAID (Railway Air Incident Deployment) Program which is designed to provide rapid, local and consistent response procedures to railroad emergencies/concerns involving air quality through the use of regional contractors.
CP's RAID program provided the continuous monitoring and reporting back to the WFPS that assisted officials to confidently tell people that it was safe to return to their homes. And it allowed CP to know our employees were safe as we got trains moving.
"We're very grateful to the many agencies, including CP, who provided
resources and personnel to help manage this emergency," said Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service Chief John Lane. "This fire highlighted not only the exceptional
expertise and knowledge of all the responding agencies but also the high-level of collaboration between those agencies to be able to manage an incident of this scale. Without this level of collaboration the outcome of this event could have been very different."
Learn more about
CP's Emergency Response network and mutual aid capabilities.