No one was injured after a train caught fire in Island Lakes early this morning.
At around 3 a.m., a small fire started on the lead locomotive of a Canadian Pacific freight train on the tracks crossing Bishop Grandin Boulevard near Shorehill Drive. CP Rail spokesman Kevin Hrysak said the crew quickly informed CP Rail dispatch of the situation and dispatch contacted Winnipeg emergency personnel.
The fire was extinguished after 20-30 minutes, Hrysak said.
"There were no injuries to the crew members and the fire was contained to the smokestack of the lead locomotive," he added.
Hrysak said the train was a "mixed freight" train carrying a wide range of household products. He didn’t have a specific break down of the goods that were on the train.
This uncertainty did little to calm the nerves of locals in the Island Lakes area.
Jack Hunter, whose Huppe Bay house is right next to the tracks, said he woke up to a loud boom. Concerned, he rolled out of bed and saw flames and smoke blasting out from the engine. His immediate thought was of what happened in Lac Megantic, Que. this past July, when over 40 people died from a blaze following a runaway train derailment and massive fire.
Since that tragedy, he’s been a little more mindful of what’s going on in his backyard with regards to the train activity.
"It was burning, a good 50-feet into the air," Hunter said. "I wasn’t sure what I should do. I’m pretty sure some of my neighbours left the area. I know one person who left."
Noticing how the wind was blowing smoke away from his house, Hunter decided to stay home when he saw the fire trucks arrive. "That kind of settled the nerves, no question," he said.
Bishop Grandin near Shorehill and the nearby Willowlake Crescent were all closed for about three hours this morning. Traffic re-opened to motorists at 6 a.m.
The engine is back in the mechanical shop and the cause of the fire is under investigation, Hrysak said.