Kenora fire department responds to mock CP derailment
Kenora Miner & News

Kenora Fire and Emergency Services firefighters were called to action in the early morning hours Tuesday — or so they thought. 

KEFS held a mock train derailment the morning of June 25 in Keewatin, but not too many people knew about it. The 911 call was made just after 8 a.m. and crews were “already rolling” before the call was done according to fire chief Todd Skene. Crews rushed to their trucks only to find a note taped to the steering wheel saying it was a mock exercise. 

“This was kept very secret from most which is a different way to run exercises, but we were really trying to test a few things,” Skene told reporters after the exercise.

The mock derailment of an oil car into the water was meant to test the fire department’s response to an active derailment and spill, test CP rails boom deployment contractor and test the response of the City of Kenora’s emergency control group to the emergency operations centre.

Skene was pleased with the results of the exercise.

It turned out better than I thought,” he said. “Everyone responded really well.”

After the call he said he had Pellatt and Mackenzie Clearwater fire departments give him a call asking if they needed help, as they were unaware of the exercise.

“I never thought about the surrounding departments,” Skene said.

The exercise involved KEFS, the emergency control group, Kenora city services, OPP, emergency medical services, the spills action centre of the Ministry of Environment and the Canadian Transport Emergency Centre.

This exercise involved six weeks of planning with CP hazardous materials emergency response officer Jon Gardiner, who was on scene Tuesday. Skene said if this oil spill had happened, CP would be on a plane immediately to help.

In this mock oil spill in Portage Bay with a westerly wind, the area 300 metres downwind would be evacuated. The City of Kenora posted the evacuation order on their social media feeds to go along with the test. If there was a fire due to the spill the area in a 900 metre radius would be evacuated.

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