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Thanato

Massive Explosion in Quebec

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One person has been declared dead after a train derailment in the tight-knit community of Lac-Mégantic, Que., sparked explosions and a major blaze.

The train, which was carrying crude oil, rolled away overnight after it was parked by an engineer. It derailed in the heart of the small town in Quebec's Eastern Townships, forcing close to 2,000 people from their homes.

Share your thoughts and wishes with the community of Lac-Mégantic.

Witnesses reported between five and six explosions overnight in the town of about 6,000 people. The derailment happened at about 1 a.m. ET, about 250 kilometres east of Montreal. About 1,000 people were evacuated from their homes overnight, and several hundred more also left their homes on Saturday afternoon because of air quality concerns.

'It’s like the town has been cut by a knife.'
—Grégory Gomez del Prado, Quebec provincial police

Quebec provincial police confirmed one death on Saturday afternoon, and Sgt. Grégory Gomez del Prado told CBC it's possible up to 100 people could be missing, although he said it is difficult to pin down an exact number.

“It’s like the town has been cut by a knife,” he said, referring to the fire that tore through the community's downtown.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper sent his thoughts out to the community on Saturday afternoon. He said the government was monitoring the situation and was standing ready to provide extra support.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families and friends of those affected by this morning's tragic train derailment," he said in a statement. “We hope evacuees can return to their homes safely and quickly," he said.

'Total mayhem'

Zeph Kee, who lives about 30 minutes outside of Lac-Mégantic, said he saw a huge fireball coming from the city's downtown early Saturday morning.

The area surrounding the explosion site was a popular place on the evenings, and witnesses said the bars and restaurants were bustling with people when the first explosion hit.

Kee said one of the bars, which was packed with people enjoying their drinks on the patio, is now gone along with dozens of other buildings and homes that were flattened by the blast.

Watch the explosion

"It was total mayhem … people not finding their kids," Kee said.

Isabelle Aller, who was visiting the area, says she has been calling her friends ever since the explosion, and they haven't answered their phones.

"The more time that passes, the more we are worried," she said.

Aller says after the first explosion, some people went to the scene to see what was going on.

Several explosions followed afterwards.

Train inexplicably rolls away

The derailed train belongs to Montreal Maine & Atlantic Railway, which owns more than 800 kilometres of track serving Maine, Vermont, Quebec and New Brunswick, according to the company's website.

Chairman Edward Burhardt said an engineer parked the train west of Lac-Mégantic before he went to a local hotel for the night.

While other details remain unclear, the train rolled away later that night and derailed in the centre of the town.

"He had parked the train, so far as we can determine, properly," Burhardt said, adding that the brakes were properly applied.

The company will have to wait for clearance from authorities before they can look for more answers.

Burhardt said that while it's not clear how much oil has been spilled, his company is committed to cleaning up.

"We're pledging a complete cleanup and remediation of the area," he said.

Mayor holds back tears

The teary-eyed mayor of Lac-Mégantic, Colette Roy-Laroche, said emergency services are doing everything possible to deal with the crisis.

"We have deployed all resources to ensure that we can support our citizens," she said.

The fire, which can be seen for several kilometres, spread to a number of homes. Authorities say some 30 buildings were affected.A spokesperson for Quebec's Environment Ministry says 73 rail cars filled with crude oil were involved. At least four of the cars exploded, sending a huge cloud of thick, black smoke into the air.

"It's dreadful," said Lac-Mégantic resident Claude Bédard. "It's terrible. We've never seen anything like it. The Metro store, Dollarama, everything that was there is gone."

Firefighters called in from U.S.

More than 150 firefighters, some from as far away as Sherbrooke, Que., and the United States, worked from the early Saturday morning to bring the flames under control. While the fire continued to burn in the afternoon, authorities said it had been contained.

A large but as-yet undetermined amount of fuel is also reported to have spilled into the Chaudière River. Some residents say the water has turned an orange colour. Mayor Roy-Laroche assured the public that the town's drinking-water supply is safe, and she encouraged residents to limit their water consumption as much as possible.

Experts from Environment Quebec were also on the scene to keep an eye on the town's air quality.

The cause of the derailment is under investigation.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/story/2013/07/06/quebec-train-derailment-fire.html

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Wow. I hope everyone is okay!

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They are saying up to 100 people are still missing

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They are saying up to 100 people are still missing

Dang. >_<

Fox isn't covering the incident because they're covering the airplane one. Keep posting.

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From the comments apparently it happened at or near the transfer point between the Canadian and US train crew before it headed into the US.

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Ahh i posted the same thing

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2 more found dead. Also so e of the exploded cars are still on fire. It is not know. How the cars uncoupled from the train at this time.

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Isnt that what the Keystone pipeline is supposed to prevent`?

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They are saying that some of the bodies might not be recoverable due to the intense fire. Over 40 people are still missing. There was a packs patio bar near the explosion.

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They are saying that some of the bodies might not be recoverable due to the intense fire. Over 40 people are still missing. There was a packs patio bar near the explosion.

You seem to be nearer to the story than everybody else: I heard this was a runaway train, are trains in Canada not equipped with a dead-man brake?

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The cars uncoupled from the 5 engines. From what I've read the police are treating it as a crime scene.

I'll ask my cousin who was a conductor before being laid off (now works for Go transit in the GTA)

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They found 8 more bodies.

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Posted (edited)

And who now opposes a pipe line. Pipelines are far safer far more reliable and can handle the transfer of oil far better than rail. Fact and point. Damn I feel bad for the people I saw the video and wow. The many missing are most likely dead now.

http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=quebec+train+explosion&oq=quebec&gs_l=youtube.1.0.0i3l2j0l8.3392.4990.0.7800.6.5.0.1.1.0.155.585.2j3.5.0...0.0...1ac.1.11.youtube.rOHsFRfKd3s

Edited by The Silver Thong

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just read a report that says the train was on fire before it uncoupled and derailed. The firecrews where there to put it out and then after they where done it uncoupled and sent the fuel cars down into the town. Apparently still on fire.

~Thanato

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Posted (edited)

just read a report that says the train was on fire before it uncoupled and derailed. The firecrews where there to put it out and then after they where done it uncoupled and sent the fuel cars down into the town. Apparently still on fire.

~Thanato

That makes the question about the dead-man brake superfluous, they released it to uncouple the wagons... and then forgot to activate it again.

Edited by questionmark

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Posted (edited)

The company has thrown the conductor under the bus by saying he didn't set enough hand breaks.

They are saying up to 60 people are either dead or missing.

Edited by Thanato

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The company has thrown the conductor under the bus by saying he didn't set enough hand breaks.

They are saying up to 60 people are either dead or missing.

Doubt it was the conductor... unless he uncoupled the wagons and not the firefighters. In any case, the finger points in the direction of whoever uncoupled those things.

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