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RSS FeedsHow planning and bravery amid massive explosions led to the `Mississauga miracle´
(The Star Toronto Raptors)


10 november 2019 15:56:48

How planning and bravery amid massive explosions led to the `Mississauga miracle´
(The Star Toronto Raptors)

The explosions were visible from as far away as Niagara Falls. A massive orange fireball rising as high as 1,500 metres after one of the most potentially devastating events in Mississauga’s history.A 106-car train transporting dangerous and highly flammable substances including butane, propane, toluene and chlorine was passing through the city 40 years ago on Nov. 10, on its way to Toronto from Windsor, Ont., when it derailed, causing a massive crash and several explosions, sending entire train cars and chunks of metal hurling through the air.Nearly 250,000 people, including all of Mississauga and parts of Oakville, had to be evacuated for days, as one tanker carrying 90 tonnes of liquid chlorine began to leak, releasing the same deadly substance used on First World War soldiers in Ypres. It remained the largest peacetime evacuation in North America until Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Today, many people are unaware of this dramatic chapter in local history, but at the time, several cities modelled their evacuation plans after Mississauga’s, and lessons learned from the derailment led to changes in the rules around transporting dangerous materials by rail.Amazingly, no one died. The derailment happened to occur in a patch of sparsely populated land.“A half-mile farther down on the track … we would have seen thousands of people wiped out,” Mayor Hazel McCallion, in her first term as mayor during the derailment, told the Star. Instead, it became known as “the Mississauga Miracle.”Canadian Pacific Train 54 originally started its journey in Windsor in the early afternoon of Nov. 10, 1979. It stopped in Chatham, picking up cars from Sarnia before heading to London to switch crews. These cars were carrying caustic soda, propane, chlorine, styrene and toluene, all highly flammable, combustible or otherwise dangerous substances that were expected to travel through highly populated parts of southern Ontario to reach their destination ...

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