Quebec train derailment sets small town ablaze, kills at least three (VIDEO)


At least three people have been killed by an explosion from a train derailment in the small town of Lac-Megantic, in the Canadian province of Quebec.

The 73-car train carrying crude oil derailed around 1 am on Saturday morning, causing a massive fireball to tear through the downtown.

At a Sunday morning press conference, the Surêté du Québec said three bodies, burnt beyond recognition, had been shipped to the Quebec government’s crime lab in Montreal for identification.

“The families haven’t been advised, so we can’t say where they were found,” Lieutenant Michel Brunet said, according to the Globe & Mail.

He added, “we know there will be more deaths.”

The train explosion destroyed 30 buildings, including the packed Musi-Cafe bar, apartments and the town’s archives.

About 1,000 people were evacuated from the town of 6,000 early Saturday morning and another 1,000 evacuated later that day. At least 60 people were reported missing.

A Facebook group was set up to track down those who couldn't be reached by phone, reported the Toronto Star.

Dozens of firefighters rushed to the scene, setting up a perimeter around the town.

The fire raged for hours despite rainfall and firefighters' efforts. On Sunday, two train cars were still burning and at risk of exploding, town fire officials said, according to CBC News.

Some of the oil reportedly spilled into the nearby Chaudiere river, and officials warned that communities downstream of Lac-Megantic should take care if using river water.

A mobile laboratory has been set up to monitor the quality of the air, said Quebec officials.

Lac-Megantic, in Quebec's Eastern Townships, is located about 155 miles east of Montreal.