Train Blast Site Being Treated as Crime Scene

Disaster raises questions about moving oil by rail

By Newser Editors and Wire Services

Posted Jul 10, 2013 4:18 AM CDT | Updated Jul 10, 2013 7:33 AM CDT

(Newser) – Police in Quebec are pursuing a painstaking, wide-ranging criminal investigation of the inferno ignited by the derailment of a runaway oil train that killed at least 15 people and left dozens missing in the burned-out ruins of a downtown district. A police inspector says terrorism has been ruled out as a cause, but an array of other possibilities remain under investigation, including criminal negligence. "This is an enormous task ahead of us," he says. "We're not at the stage of arrests."

Other officials have raised the possibility that the train was tampered with before the crash in Lac-Megantic early Saturday, and the train operator suspects firefighters who extinguished an earlier blaze on the train are to blame. Investigators are continuing a search for the missing, fearing three dozen more bodies are buried in the downtown area closest to the tracks. The derailment has raised questions about the safety of Canada's growing practice of transporting oil by train, and is sure to bolster the case for a proposed oil pipeline running from Canada across the US—a project that Canadian officials badly want.

In this aerial photo, workers comb through the debris in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, Canada.   (AP Photo/ The Canadian Press, Paul Chiasson)
This photo provided by Surete du Quebec shows wrecked oil tankers and debris from a runaway train in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, Canada.   (AP Photo/Surete du Quebec, The Canadian Press)
An oil slick floats on the water at the local marina after Saturday's train derailment and explosion in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, Canada.   (AP Photo/ The Canadian Press, Paul Chiasson)
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