Rail News


September 13 , 2021

Lawsuit claims CN, CP railways at fault for sparking fire that wiped out B.C. town

National Post 
Aug 18, 2021 (VANCOUVER, Canada)

A proposed class-action lawsuit alleges Canadian Pacific and Canadian National railways caused or contributed to the wildfire that destroyed the Village of Lytton, B.C.

The B.C. Supreme Court statement of claim filed Wednesday alleges the fire was set off by heat or sparks emanating from a CP freight train operated by CN employees on tracks owned by Canadian National.

It says the fire started at about 4:15 p.m. on June 30, where the CN bridge crosses the Fraser River, and winds of up to 70 km/h carried the flames into Lytton, burning the town in less than two hours.

With temperatures nearing 50 C, the lawsuit alleges the railway companies should have know conditions were unsafe to operate and that they failed to protect the town.

“The Province of British Columbia notified the defendants of extreme risk of wildfires, which was the highest possible rating according to the Canadian Forest Fire Danger Rating System,” the lawsuit says.

The RCMP, BC Wildfire Service and Transportation Safety Board are still investigating the cause of the fire.

The safety board said in July that it sent rail investigators to the scene after receiving new information about the cause of the fire from the Mounties and wildfire service.

The lawsuit says the fire wasn’t caused by a nearby forest fire or lightning strike.


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