Amazingly, there are no reports of deaths or injuries after a freight train pulling tank cars full of crude oil exploded early Saturday in a small Quebec town about 160 miles east of Montreal.
It’s also hoped that those now feared missing might have been out of town.
“The train that careened into the center of town in Lac Mégantic early Saturday morning was unmanned when it derailed and exploded in a huge ball of flame, says a spokesperson for the company that owned the locomotive.
“Joseph R. McGonigle confirmed to The Gazette early Saturday afternoon that shortly before midnight, the train’s conductor stopped in nearby Nantes, locked the brakes and checked to ensure that the rail cars carrying thousands of liters of crude oil were all securely attached.
” ‘Sometime after (the first conductor left), the train got loose,’ said McGonigle. … The locomotive portion of the 73-car train actually detached half a mile outside of the small town, he added, but the cars carrying the oil kept right on rolling.”
CBC News says that “witnesses reported between four and six explosions overnight in the town of about 6,000 people. The derailment happened at about 1 a.m. ET. … It is not yet known if there are any casualties, but according to Radio-Canada 60 people have been reported missing.”