The chief of Mattagami First Nation says he is concerned for the welfare of his community after a CN train carrying crude oil derailed this morning, catching fire and sending a plume of black smoke into the air.
Members of the First Nation, about 23 kilometres from the crash site, near the town of Gogama, are being told to stay indoors.
Chief Walter Naveau said he met with CN representatives this morning.
“They’re saying it’s okay, and yet why are some of my band members feeling it in their chests and tasting it in their mouths?” Naveau said in a phone interview with Village Media.
This is the second derailment to occur in the same area in less than a month.
More than a million litres was spilled when another CN train carrying crude derailed.
Naveau said this morning’s derailment, about four kilometres northwest of Gogama, is closer to Mattagami.
“I’m very angry at CN right now to put it mildly,” said Naveau.
He said Mattagami officials have been meeting this morning to determine whether the community should be evacuated.
He said he understands that the smoke from the fire was being blown away from the community this morning.
“If the wind should change just a few degrees it will affect Mattagami,” he said.
Naveau said he is also concerned about the possible lasting effects of the derailment, which OPP report caused train cars to enter the Mattagami River upstream from the community.
“The water is coming our way and that’s going to harm our fish habitat and tourist habitat,” said Naveau.
He said he hopes emergency crews are able to contain whatever oil may have spilled into the river.
“Eventually it’s going to come to Timmins. That’s what’s going to happen,” he said.