Train explosion in Quebec

A runaway oil train derailed and exploded in a small Quebec town, killing 20 people and leaving another 30 missing and presumed dead.

Smoke rises from rail cars that were carrying crude oil after they derailed in downtown Lac Megantic, Quebec, Canada, on Saturday July 6. A large swath of Lac-Megantic was destroyed Saturday after a runaway train derailed, sparking several explosions and forcing the evacuation of up to 1,000 people.

Paul Chiasson

Workers and firefighters work on the remains of downtown Lac-Megantic on Monday. A driverless, runaway fuel train that exploded in a deadly ball of flames in the center of the 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 Monday.

Mathieu Belanger / X02032

A woman comforts a 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 in Lac-Megantic on Saturday.

Mathieu Belanger / X02032

A police officer walks among axles, wheels and other debris in Lac-Megantic on Tuesday. The crude oil freight train that derailed and blew up in the small town early Saturday was traveling far too fast when it went off the rails, investigators told reporters on Tuesday.

Mathieu Belanger / X02032

An oil spill from the train wreck flows into Lake Megantic.

Mathieu Belanger / X02032

Evacuee Alexys Jacques, left and his mother, Lyne Boulanger, leave an evacuation center to head back home after the evacuation order was reduced to a smaller perimeter in Lac-Megantic on Tuesday.

Ryan Remiorz

In this combo satellite image provided by the NASA Earth Observatory, Lac-Megantic, Quebec, is in the lower right. The glow from the fiery explosions can be seen in the lower right of the photo on the right, which was taken Saturday July 6. The left image, taken Thursday July 4, shows the relative dark of the area for comparison. At lower left in both images is Montreal, and Quebec City is at top right.

NASA Earth Observatory via The C

Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers guard the main locomotive involved in the train derailment and explosion in Lac-Megantic.

Jacques Boissinot

Scott Smith of Opflex Solutions places absorbent foam in the La Chaudiere River to collect crude oil in Lac-Megantic on Wednesday.

Christinne Muschi / X01320