Update, Sunday 9:54 a.m.: Police officials announced at a press briefing this morning that there are now three people confirmed dead because of the explosion. The Globe and Mail has the definitive explanation of how this tragedy occurred in the paper's Sunday edition. The train was stopped about 12 kilmeters away from Lac-Mégantic for a routine shift change on Friday night, and then a series of questionable, unfortunate events led to the unthinkable:
The train’s brakes and safety system were functional when the conductor left, according to company spokesman Christophe Journet. The conductor inspected the train and its load before leaving for a local hotel. A replacement crew was slated to come later during the night. Sometime before 1 a.m. ET, the train’s load of 73 cars broke loose and began rolling towards the small town. Before it reached Lac-Mégantic, the locomotive also broke free.
Then, chaos. The Sunday cover of Journal de Montreal is also one not to miss.
Update, 9:11 p.m.: The latest updated numbers have at least 80 people still missing almost 24 hours after the explosion.
Update, 4:14 p.m.: The Associated Press confirms at least one person was killed because of the train crash.
Original: Fires raged well into Saturday afternoon in Quebec after a train carrying petroleum products derailed and decimated a small town, causing damage to over 30 buildings and forcing residents out of their homes. The Globe and Mail reports over 1,000 people were evacuated after the crash. NBC News reports police have set up a half-mile perimeter around the site where several tankers went off the tracks and crashed in Lac Mégantic, Quebec, around 1 a.m. Saturday morning. The Montreal, Maine & Atlantic freight train travelling to Maine crashed in the small border town, and the ensuing explosions destroyed huge portions of downtown. There are no reported injuries, but some people are still missing as the town goes searching for answers.