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July 07, 2013

More Deaths Expected in Canada Oil Train Explosion

by VOA News

Police in Canada say the death toll has risen to five, after a runaway train carrying crude oil derailed Saturday in eastern Quebec province.

The derailment caused four of the train's more than 70 cars to explode in the middle of the town of Lac Megantic, igniting fires that destroyed dozens of buildings, including stores and at least one bar.

A police spokesman said 40 people are reported missing, and he predicted the confirmed number of deaths will rise.

The accident forced up to 2,000 people to evacuate their homes - a third of Lac-Megantic's 6,000 residents.

The cause of the derailment is still not known. Canada's transportation safety agency is investigating.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper called the accident "shocking and truly devastating." He said the government is ready to provide assistance.

Last week, Canada suffered another derailment of a train carrying petroleum products. The train went off the track in Calgary, Alberta, when a flood-damaged bridge sagged toward the still-swollen Bow River. The derailed rail cars were able to be removed without spilling their cargo.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.