TribLIVE

| USWorld


 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Quebec derailment spares little

Daily Photo Galleries

By From Wire Reports
Sunday, July 7, 2013, 8:42 p.m.
 

LAC-MEGANTIC, Quebec — As firefighters on Sunday evening finally doused burning tanker rail cars, the death toll grew to five in this devastated town in eastern Quebec.

A conductor-less 73-car train, which had been parked overnight at the top of a hill eight miles away, barreled into Lac-Megantic at high speed about 1 a.m. on Saturday when the brakes holding it stationary apparently failed, Canadian media reported.

The flames from the explosions destroyed the town center, including the Musi-Cafe, a live music venue that was packed with dozens of drinkers.

Quebec provincial police Lt. Michel Brunet said that about 40 people have been reported missing by immediate family members but cautioned that the number could fluctuate.

Fire Chief Denis Lauzon likened the charred scene to “a war zone.”

Several blasts occurred over a span of several hours in the town of 6,000, which is about 155 miles east of Montreal and about 10 miles west of the Maine border. It is a picturesque lakeside town in Quebec's Eastern Townships.

“This is really terrible. Our community is grieving, and it is taking its toll on us,” Mayor Colette Roy-Laroche said.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper toured the town where about 30 buildings had been incinerated.

“This is an unbelievable disaster,” Harper said. “There isn't a family that is not affected by this.”

All but one of the rail cars were filled with oil, which was being transported from North Dakota's Bakken oil region to a refinery in Saint John, New Brunswick.

The cause of the crash is being investigated. Christophe Journet, a spokesman for the Montreal Maine & Atlantic company, said that the train had stopped in the neighboring town of Nantes, about eight miles west of Lac-Megantic, for a crew changeover.

Journet said for reasons not yet clear, the train “started to move down the slope leading to Lac-Megantic,” even though the brakes were engaged. Firefighters said, though, that they had been called to a blaze on the train a few hours before the derailment.

Some eyewitnesses later reported seeing it traveling ablaze en route to Lac-Megantic, prompting eerie rumors of a “ghost train.”

 

 
 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read World

  1. Saudis tell women: Don’t defy and drive
  2. Canadians more fearful, aware after ‘very rare’ attack in Ottawa
  3. Deadly crash into train station prompts crackdown in Jerusalem
  4. Iran considers compromise offer on nuclear program
  5. U.S. airstrikes beat back Islamic State’s push for Mosul dam
  6. Gunman in Ottawa attack had been waiting for passport to go to Syria
  7. Loophole rewards expelled Nazi suspects with Social Security benefits
  8. Iran acts to comply with interim nuclear deal with world powers, IAEA says
  9. American baby killed, 8 hurt as car plows into crowd at Jerusalem train station
  10. Iraq gives key posts to Sunni, Shiite men
  11. Tourism in Iran increases 35%
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.