NDP Leader Tom Mulcair is in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, where a train derailment has left five people dead and dozens unaccounted for. Mulcair says while people deserve answers, right now the focus is helping affected families.
About 40 people are considered missing after the spectacular blaze and explosions that razed much of Lac-Megantic, increasing the likelihood that the number of fatalities could soar from the current official death toll of five."I can tell you that we have met a lot of people....and what I can tell you is that about 40 people are considered missing," Quebec provincial police Lt. Michel Brunet told a news conference."We have to be careful with that number because it could go up or down."It is the first time police have gone public with an estimate since the derailment of a train carrying crude oil triggered Saturday morning's fatal events.Brunet said two bodies were found overnight and another two on Sunday morning. The first body was discovered Saturday.Police say a higher death toll is inevitable.About 30 buildings were destroyed after tanker cars laden with oil caught fire shortly after 1 a.m. One of them is the Musi-Cafe bar where dozens of people were enjoying themselves in the wee hours of a glorious summer night.Hampering the search for victims in the charred debris is the fact two of the train's cars were still burning on Sunday morning, sparking fears of other potentially fatal explosions.The multiple blasts over a span of several hours sent people fleeing as the explosions rocked the popular downtown core in the municipality of 6,000, about 250 kilometres east of Montreal.They also sent sent spectacular fireballs and mushroom clouds into the sky."It was like a movie," said Bernard Theberge, who was close to the accident site and suffered second-degree burns on his arm."Explosions as if it were scripted — but this was live."Firefighters continued to fight multiple blazes. They doused five tankers with lake water and foam in an effort to keep them from overheating and exploding.Authorities said Saturday that no federal assistance — such as military help — had been requested."We have all the firemen that we need," Lac-Megantic fire chief Denis Lauzon said, adding they had 125 firefighters on the ground.He also said crews have all the equipment they need, except for water bombers, which were busy fighting forest fires in another part of the province.Lauzon spoke about some of the losses in Lac-Megantic, including the town's library and its archives."It's the heritage of the town of Lac-Megantic," he said.