Quebec Oil Train Crash
The death toll from the derailment of a Quebec Oil train has now hit 13, and roughly 40 people are still missing and are feared dead, USA Today reported. Authorities believe that many bodies will be recovered at a popular local tavern that they haven’t been able to get access to yet.
The train wreck in Lac-Megantic, a Canadian town not far from the Maine border, at 1 a.m. Saturday created an inferno that destroyed the city’s center, incinerating several dozen buildings.
The company that owns the train, Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway, is now essentially blaming local firefighters for the accident, saying that they disabled the Quebec oil train’s air brakes just 90 minutes before it went out of control, USA Today reported. The train had 73 tankers, with all but one of them holding crude oil from North Dakota, according to the newspaper.
At 11:30 p.m. Friday, volunteer firefighters from Nantes responded to the train to put out a fire in one of its locomotives, USA Today reported. The train’s engine had been left idling, which keeps its air brakes pressurized so it won’t move, the paper said.
But when firefighters came to the scene, they shut off the locomotive’s engine, according to USA Today. Shortly after the firefighters left, a witness said he saw the train start to roll without its lights on, the newspaper said. Then came the derailment and explosions.