July 8, 2013

Train derails, explodes near Maine-Canada border

One person is confirmed dead after an unattended freight train carrying oil rolls into a Quebec town, creating a daylong inferno.

By J. Craig Anderson canderson@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

and Edward D. Murphy emurphy@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

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Smoke and flames rise from railway cars carrying crude oil after a train derailment in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, on Saturday. The accident led to several explosions and destroyed a huge swath of the town’s urban center. Quebec Provincial Police said Saturday night that there was at least one confirmed death.

The Associated Press/Canadian Press

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Seven municipalities in Franklin County dispatched eight fire trucks carrying about 30 firefighters to the scene starting around 3 a.m. Saturday, Franklin County Sheriff’s Office dispatcher Stan Wheeler said. Lac-Megantic is about 20 miles from the Franklin County border.

The firefighters are from Chesterville, Eustis, Farmington, New Vineyard, Phillips, Rangeley and Strong, he said.

Franklin County Emergency Management Director Tim Hardy also went to the derailment site, Wheeler said.

A railcar generally can carry between 25,000 and 30,000 gallons of oil. Given its more than 70 cars, the train that derailed had the capacity to be carrying 1.8 million to 2.2 million gallons of oil.

Authorities set up perimeters as firefighters battled to control the fire, the AP said, and worried residents looked on amid fears that some of their friends and loved ones may have died in their homes.

Firefighters and rescue workers from several municipalities, including Sherbrooke and Saint-Georges-de-Beauce, were called in to help deal with the disaster, the AP reported.

According to the Railway Association of Canada, a railroad-industry group based in Ottawa,  Canadian railroads transport about 230,000 barrels of crude oil per day, equivalent to about 9.7 million gallons of oil.

One of the six people arrested in a protest June 27 in Fairfield against the transportation of crude oil in Maine said the group was hoping to raise more awareness about crude oil before the train derailment catastrophe in Lac-Megantic  occurred early Saturday.

Read Brugger, 63, of Freedom said the group was going to plan another protest against Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway after its recent protest against Pan Am Railways in Fairfield.

“We were hoping to bring awareness about the MMA Railways,” Brugger said over the phone Saturday. “It’s just tragic this is how the awareness gets out.”

Brugger said he’d been tracking MM&A Railways and said it transported crude oil about two or three times a week via the route it was using Saturday.

“When I first heard about it, there was deep concern for the people there,” Brugger said. “We knew this was unsafe.”

Jesse Scardina of the Morning Sentinel contributed to this report.

J. Craig Anderson can be contacted at 791-6390 or at:

canderson@pressherald.com

Twitter: @jcraiganderson

Edward D. Murphy can be contacted at 791-6465 or at:

emurphy@pressherald.com

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Additional Photos

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A large swath of Lac-Megantic in the Canadian province of Quebec was destroyed Saturday after a train carrying crude oil derailed, sparking several explosions and forcing the evacuation of up to 1,000 people.

The Associated Press/Canadian Press

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Smoke rises from derailed railway cars that were carrying crude oil in downtown Lac-Megantic, Quebec, on Saturday.

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Smoke billows behind buildings in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, hours after a fiery train derailment Saturday.

The Associated Press / Canadian Press

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A view of Lac-Megantic around noon with smoke still rising from the train derailment.

The Associated Press / Canadian Press

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