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Wednesday
Jul102013

Quebec Train Derailment: Evacuees Return to Their Homes

François Laplante-Delagrave/AFP/Getty Images(LAC-MEGANTIC, Quebec) -- As many as 1,200 people were allowed to return to their homes Tuesday in the Quebec town of Lac-Megantic following last Saturday's train derailment that left 13 people dead and more than 40 others unaccounted for.

Another 800 people who were evacuated following the explosion of tanker cars and subsequent fires should be able to start going back home on Wednesday.

Fire officials said the blazes caused by the derailment were fully contained.  However, the grim task of finding missing residents has been difficult due to the total destruction at the epicenter of the disaster.

Thirty buildings were completely destroyed, including the public library and a popular bar where it's feared many of the missing were enjoying themselves prior to the disaster in the town near the border with Maine.

Meanwhile, investigators are trying to determine what caused the unattended train with 73 cars -- all but one carrying oil -- to roll down a hill early Saturday morning.

They're looking at the possibility that air brakes were disabled as firefighters were sent in before midnight Friday to extinguish a fire in one of the locomotives.

The Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway has been cited for eight derailments and 10 spills since 2009 although its president, Edward Burkhardt, claims last Saturday's incident was the company's only significant derailment.

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