Canadian train derailment kills at least 5, destroys town

According to a recent report from the Boston Herald, as many as 40 people are still reported missing following Saturday’s deadly train derailment in Quebec. The train derailment is said to have caused multiple fires and explosions, which have left at least five people dead.

The train derailment occurred early Saturday morning when 72 train cars filled with oil somehow became detached from the railway and sped into the Canadian town of Lac-Megantic, which is near the Maine border. Authorities say the town’s downtown district was destroyed by the train and the Canadian prime minister said the site resembled a war zone.

At least five of the oil-filled cars exploded and authorities said there is much concern over the status of the two other runaway cars that are still burning. As of yesterday, firefighters were being ordered to stay about 500 feet away from the burning cars. The fire caused by the explosions has already destroyed at least 30 buildings and many homes.

Because trains are more commonly being used to haul crude oil in Canada and the United States, there has been a growing concern over major train derailments like this one. As this incident clearly demonstrates, a serious train derailment has the potential to destroy an entire town when oil and other flammables are being hauled.

No doubt, regulatory agencies will conduct an investigation to determine the cause of this incident and it is possible that a railway company or oil company could be held responsible if negligence was involved. An investigation could also help provide insight into how to avoid similar accidents in the future.

Source: Boston Herald, “40 still missing in deadly Canada rail crash, fire,” July 7, 2013