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