It’s been a hectic 24 hours in the village of Plaster Rock…after a freight train derailed and caught fire Tuesday night, emergency response officials from a number of departments have been working around the clock to assess and manage the situation.
“I’ve never heard of anything like that happening since way way back,” said resident David Ruff.
After getting word of the derailment which happened around 7, crews from the Plaster Rock fire department immediately started evacuating residents nearby – staff from the Canadian National Railway came to the area – and village officials fielded phone calls and made sure everyone had a place to go.
Sharon Dewitt, emergency measures coordinator for the village said, “things happened very quickly, there were a lot of people here, a lot of people who knew what they were doing..I think the situation was managed very very well considering it was the middle of the night.”
Dewitt was very impressed with the way everyone came together to help out – in her time as the emergency measures coordinator, she’s never seen anything like this happen – she also called in the regional management coordinator Bruno Cyr who spent the night monitoring the fire department and said the majority of the residents who had to evacuate were cooperative.
“Everyone got here right quick and the right decisions were made and everybody got out safe,” says Cyr.
“Nobody was injured, nobody was hurt and thats a testament to our organizational ability and being proactive,” said MLA for Victoria-Tobique Wes McLean.
Dewitt says the majority of phone calls she’s taken from Plaster Rock residents were people wanting to help out.
“They asked if they could make sandwiches, they had an extra bed, they could take in people,” she said.
“Plaster rock is a pretty tight knit family..and people were already posting on Facebook opening up their houses for people to stay so I wasn’t too worried I knew the town would come together,” says resident Trina Lacoste.
No word yet on when residents will get back into their homes.