Accident in Canada Shows Lynchburg Derailment Could Have Been Much Worse
By Dave Walls
Lac Megantic, Canada - In July of 2013, the town of Lac Megantic in Quebec experienced a tragedy that they have still yet to fully recover from. Wednesday's flames in Lynchburg looked much like the scene in Lac Megantic. "It's very similar, the train ran right through the middle of town," said Wendy Gillis with the Toronto Star. Last summer, during an overnight crew change, a train with 72 oil tankers was left unattended. The train rolled down a hill, six miles in length, into Lac Megantic at a high rate of speed, derailed and caught on fire. Over one and a half million gallons of Crude Oil was in the DOT111 cars. "There was burning oil that was running down towards the lake, it was so hot, that it were shooting flames. There was a river of burning oil," Gillis said. Forty-seven people perished that day. The town burned for nearly two days. Investigations by the Transportation Safety Board of Canada reveals that brakes were not applied to all train cars. "I just hope that we, for the sake of not only for us, but for the people of our country and the United States , that we would never go through again, a tragedy like that again," said Luc Burdon, Safety Director for Transport Canada. Just one week before the derailment in Lynchburg, Canada's Transport Minister Lisa Raitt announced changes that effectively ban older DOT-111 tank cars. The fires may be out, but the effects are still felt, just 22 miles north of the border. "There's not a person in that community that doesn't know someone who was connected to the tragedy, you don't have to look very hard to find someone who lost someone," Gillis said.
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