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Train derails, explodes in Canada

quebec crude oil downtown destroyed plumes of smoke

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#1 Hum

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Posted 07 July 2013 - 22:31

Quebec -- Tank cars filled with crude oil continue to burn and the death toll is expected to rise 36 hours after a runaway train exploded in a small Canadian town, local police said Sunday.

At least five people were killed and around 40 people are listed as missing in the tiny lakeside town of Lac-Megantic, Quebec, local police spokesman Lt. Michel Brunet said Sunday. The burned bodies have been sent to Montreal for identification. Brunet said "we know that there will be many more" deaths.

Firefighters are still working to extinguish two burning tank cars at risk of exploding, said Lac-Megantic Fire Chief Denis Lauzon. Firefighters have to stay 500 feet away from the tankers still on fire.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper toured the town Sunday and expressed sympathy for its residents.

"It looks like a war zone here," Harper said in a news conference outside Polyvalente Montignac High School, the main staging area for search-and-rescue efforts.

"A beautiful downtown here has been destroyed," he said. "There's going to be a need for substantial reconstruction."

Harper would not comment on the specifics of the disaster except that he expected information "about why this occurred" to lead to a police investigation.

"I've heard things that concern me greatly," he said. "There will be investigations that will point to guilty or responsible people."

The train, pulling more than 70 tankers of crude oil, had been parked for the night 7 miles away from Lac-Megantic, according to a statement from the Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway. It slipped downhill, derailed, then crashed into downtown, leveling dozens of homes and buildings. Tankers exploded, sending thick plumes of smoke into the night sky.

Witnesses told the CBC they heard five or six explosions.

One witness saw the first train tanker tip over and yelled "run, run!" as he dashed toward the lake of the same name as the town. He told CBC the flames chased him to the edge of the water.

"The fire was moving so quickly," he said. "We saw balls of fire shooting out onto the water."

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#2 LaP

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Posted 07 July 2013 - 22:41

It's written Lac-Mégantic ;)

 

Sad story hope some of the 40 people missing are still alive somewhere.



#3 OP Hum

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Posted 07 July 2013 - 23:54

I reckon we need that oil pipeline, eh ?



#4 papercut2008uk

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Posted 08 July 2013 - 00:01

what i want to know is how on earth, with today's safety features for trains/locos and their cargo, the safety systems to prevent this exact thing from happening, how does a runaway train get to this point? surly the breaks would have stopped it? surly the safety monitors would have put on the emergency brakes on the loco and all carriages? 



#5 Lewism

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Posted 08 July 2013 - 00:02

About 30 buildings are reduced to ashes.

 

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Tanker exploding:

 

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#6 DocM

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Posted 08 July 2013 - 00:02

I reckon we need that oil pipeline, eh ?

Ya think?

If it was hauling crude then the light volatiles were still in the brew and the tanks were pressure vessels. One small fire, say from sparks or overheated brakes, heats the tank(s) enough to rupture then BOOM!!

The question has to be if this was intentional, a derailment either from a prank or a terrorist act. Such terrorist attacks on Canadian trains have been tried before, the most recent being last April, and a passenger, chemical, nuclear fuel, gas or oil shipment would be the perfect targets.

#7 Lewism

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Posted 08 July 2013 - 00:07

The train was parked in a town 10 miles away on top of a hill. There was a fire in the locomotive. After it was cleared out, the brakes failed (unknown reason ATM) and the train started rolling. It is a 10 mile hill and it derailed in a curb downtown at around 60 miles per hour (gravity did that!) when the speed limit was 10.



#8 DocM

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Posted 08 July 2013 - 00:11

Good intel would reveal an obvious target of opportunity like that hill, and the initial fire could have been a setup or inside job - rail yard security is notoriously poor. Never say never.

#9 Shiranui

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Posted 08 July 2013 - 00:38

what i want to know is how on earth, with today's safety features for trains/locos and their cargo, the safety systems to prevent this exact thing from happening, how does a runaway train get to this point? surly the breaks would have stopped it? surly the safety monitors would have put on the emergency brakes on the loco and all carriages? 

 

A post like this is enough to turn anyone surly.



#10 +LogicalApex

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Posted 08 July 2013 - 00:53

Good intel would reveal an obvious target of opportunity like that hill, and the initial fire could have been a setup or inside job - rail yard security is notoriously poor. Never say never.

 

 

The official report will determine the cause of the derailment and subsequent explosion, but any and everything isn't a terrorist attack. We (the US, Canada, and the world) have had train derailments and catastrophic incidents for almost as long as we have had trains. Lets wait for the investigation to complete before we start labeling it as some terrorist incident that is probably isn't.



#11 cork1958

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Posted 08 July 2013 - 00:58

There goes the gas prices back up now!!



#12 DocM

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Posted 08 July 2013 - 01:20



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#13 Bonfire

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Posted 08 July 2013 - 01:52

Looks like a war zone. :(



#14 Geoffrey B.

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Posted 08 July 2013 - 01:56

sounds like this weekend is just not a good day for commercial transportation. 



#15 DocM

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Posted 08 July 2013 - 03:05

Plane, train, ?

In ER's they have a saying for high casualty shifts;

Incoming staff: "how was it?"

Outgoing staff: "a plane hit a train, and it hit a bus."

Stay off buses.