Lac-Mégantic, Quebec was partially levelled by a massive oil explosion from a train that became detached from its locomotive and rolled into the downtown. The locomotive experienced a fire before the detachment from the oil laden cars.
Questions need to arise about the safety of unattended, automated locomotives.
” Everybody who didn’t make it back is dead,” predicted Frédérique Mailloux, a 38-year-old stay-at-home mom, who said six of her friends are missing. “I have cried every tear in my body.”
Mr. Théberge was on the outside patio in front of the café smoking a cigarette when the derailment happened. He heard the train coming and knew right away that something was wrong.
“It was going way too fast,” said Mr. Théberge. “I saw a wall of fire go up. People got up on the outside patio. I grabbed my bike, which was just on the railing of the terrasse. I started pedaling and then I stopped and turned around. I saw that there were all those people inside and I knew right away that it would be impossible for them to get out.
Mr. Théberge said he tried to go around front to help people escape “but there was just fire everywhere.”
“I just pedaled away, but I know a lot of people didn’t make it out. There were maybe 60 people inside. “This is a first. Smoking saved my life,” he said with a voice raspy from the heat and smoke. His right arm was bandaged for the second-degree burns.
At a tent at the corner of Frontenac and Lemieux streets in the afternoon, paramedics sat idly in the torrid heat with no one to help. Residents gathered to await news of survivors, which never came.
ADDED: An unattended train.