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Death toll rises to 13 in Quebec train explosion

7:23 PM, Jul 8, 2013   |    comments
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LAC-MEGANTIC, Quebec (AP/NEWS CENTER) - Officials tell the Montreal Gazette and the CBC that the death toll to has now grown to 13 after a runaway train carrying crude oil derailed in eastern Quebec, igniting explosions and fires that destroyed a town's downtown center.

PHOTOS: Devastation at Lac-Megantic

Both the CBC and The Montreal Gazette are also now reporting 50 people are missing. This number has grown from 40.

A large swath of the town of Lac-Megantic was destroyed Saturday.

Maine fire crews are assisting on scene after a train carrying crude oil derailed Saturday, sparking several explosions and forcing the evacuation of up to 2,000 people.

Witnesses say the eruptions sent residents of Lac-Megantic scrambling through the streets under the intense heat of towering fireballs and a red glow that illuminated the night sky. Flames and billowing black smoke could still be seen long after the 73-car train derailed.

The train, reportedly heading toward Maine, belongs to Montreal Maine & Atlantic. According to the railroad's website, the company owns more than 500 miles of track serving Maine, Vermont, Quebec and New Brunswick.

Montreal, Maine & Atlantic says that the train had been tied down in the town of Nantes at 11:25 PM Friday. The engineer then left for his hotel and at some point, the train rolled down the tracks into town.

The train derailed at the crossing on Rue Frontenac, which is in a busy part of the downtown, at about 1:15 AM.

The train was pulling 72 cars of crude oil with five engines. 13 cars were recovered.

 

The AP contributed to this report

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