Explosion of derailed runaway train leaves ruins in small Quebec town

Firefighters work on the remains of the massive fire in downtown Lac Megantic on Monday, July 8. A driverless, runaway fuel train that exploded in a deadly ball of flames in the center of a small Quebec town started rumbling down an empty track just minutes after a fire crew had extinguished a blaze in one of its parked locomotives, an eyewitness said on Monday. Mathieu Belanger / Reuters
An oil spill from the train wreck flows into lake Megantic at Lac Megantic. Mathieu Belanger / Reuters
A woman comforts her friend while they sit on the grass at the Polyvalente Montignac, the school sheltering the people who were forced to leave their houses after the explosion on Sunday, July 7. Mathieu Belanger / Reuters

Reuters reports:

The center of Lac-Megantic, a lakeside town of 6,000, was still cordoned off on Monday morning as police struggled to find the remains of people who likely died.

Police said they had been unable to examine much of the town center overnight because the area was still too dangerous. Dozens of rail tanker wagons, some of them destroyed, were sprawled around the accident site.

"It's an area that is still extremely risky... The fire service decided they could not allow us to go there for security reasons. We'll see what we can do today," police spokesman Benoit Richard told reporters on Monday.

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A volunteer escorts an evacuee to pick up supplies from her home near the blast site Monday, in Lac-Megantic, Quebec. A runaway train derailed Saturday in Lac-Megantic igniting tanker cars carrying crude oil. Ryan Remiorz / The Canadian Press via AP
Firefighters douse blazes after a freight train loaded with oil derailed in Lac-Megantic in Canada's Quebec province on Saturday, July 6, sparking explosions that engulfed about 30 buildings in fire. At least 80 people are missing after a driverless oil tanker train derailed and exploded in the small Canadian town of Lac-Megantic, destroying dozens of buildings, a firefighter back from the scene told AFP. François Laplante-Delagrave / AFP - Getty Images
First responders fight the fire on the site of the Lac-Megantic train derailment on Saturday. Transportation Safety Board of Canada via Flickr