Lac Megantic marks som­bre an­niver­sary

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - CANADA -

A church bell rang 47 times in Lac-Megantic Mon­day in hon­our of the vic­tims of a rail dis­as­ter two years ago that for­ever changed the Que­bec town.

They were killed and a large swath of down­town was de­stroyed in the wee hours of July 6, 2013, when an un­manned 72car train jumped the track, spilling and ig­nit­ing some six mil­lion litres of volatile crude oil. Que­bec Premier Philippe Couil­lard said in a state­ment his gov­ern­ment would con­tinue to help the town of 6,000 and that his thoughts were with those remembering their lost loved ones. Prime Min­is­ter Stephen Harper saluted the re­siliency of peo­ple who have had to move for­ward in the af­ter­math of the tragedy. He added in a state­ment that those found guilty of break­ing the law will be held to ac­count.

Sev­eral peo­ple are fac­ing crim­i­nal charges in re­la­tion to the dis­as­ter and lo­cals are also wait­ing to hear the fate of a court set­tle­ment, where about 25 com­pa­nies ac­cused of re­spon­si­bil­ity have put up a fund of $431.5 mil­lion.

The set­tle­ment is be­ing op­posed by the only firm that hasn’t signed on: CP Rail. If the chal­lenge fails, lawyers rep­re­sent­ing vic­tims and cred­i­tors hope money can start be­ing dis­bursed later this year.

CP PHOTO

Smoke rises from rail­way cars car­ry­ing crude oil af­ter de­rail­ing in down­town Lac-Megantic, Que., on July 6, 2013.

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