Building Demolitions Aid Search for Lac Megantic Victims

Some buildings heavily damaged by the fire in the Quebec town sparked by a July 6 train derailment were being demolished Sunday so authorities could continue searching for missing residents.

The death toll from the July 6 train disaster in Lac Megantic, Quebec, reached 33 over the weekend, and authorities were demolishing some badly damaged buildings to continue searching for 17 people still missing, according to media and police reports. Transportation Safety Board of Canada Chair Wendy Tadros visited the community July 12 and explained how her agency is proceeding with the investigation. Tadros said the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board is performing laser scanning to create a model that will help her agency determine why the Montreal Maine & Atlantic Railway tank cars, which were filled with crude oil, failed and exploded.

"Our hearts go out to the families and to all those who lost friends and loved ones. This is an incredibly complex investigation: We’re looking not just at the train and its operation, but its weight, the grade and the track, and the regulatory oversight. We will examine every piece of evidence, interview every witness, and apply the full strength of our collective expertise, all to ensure this community, and all Canadians, get the answers they need," she said, according to a news release posted by her agency, which is comparable to the NTSB. "We understand that the community is anxious for answers, but there are many questions we still need to ask. We must not rush to conclusions if we want to make our transportation system safer. We need to gather, validate and analyze a mountain of information," Tadros added. "If along the way we discover urgent safety issues, we will act quickly to make them known, so that Transport Canada and the rail industry can take immediate action."

Tadros said her agency has investigated many railway runaway incidents.

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