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Lac Mégantic


CBC News: Lac Mégantic Explosion: a video of the tragedy
CBC News: Lac Mégantic, before and after
Globe and Mail: a terrified train conductor
Globe and Mail: these are the lost (Éliane Parenteau Bélanger, a grandmother, has been identified.)
Globe and Mail: latest
Globe and Mail: residents of Lac-Mégantic hurled insults at Edward Burkhardt, the chairman of Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway
CTV News: Train Derailment Sparks Explosions in Quebec
See Related Articles: at the bottom of this post

Dear Readers,

It has been a difficult week.  As you know, I no longer have a complete WordPress.  I’m being helped but, until now, unsuccessfully.  Fortunately, my fingers know where to go.

Quebec’s Lac-Mégantic Tragedy

On July 6th, a train transporting crude oil derailed and exploded devastating a little town of 6,000 inhabitants: Lac-Mégantic.  Nearly every family in town lost a loved-one.  One body, that of Éliane Parenteau Bélanger, a grandmother, has been identified. DNA samples are required because the bodies of the victims are charred and cannot otherwise be identified.  Some bodies may never be found:  from ashes to ashes.

Newspapers have been covering the event extensively.  Every morning, the front page of my humble Tribune, Sherbrooke’s newspaper, has shown apocalyptic scenes.  In fact, the bulk of the newspaper, six pages this morning, is a chronicle of the tragedy.  Today it featured the worst: grief.  The front page showed people hugging one another.  I was about to write “ordinary people,” but that would be inappropriate.  No one is “ordinary.”

Canada‘s Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, was on the scene shortly after the tragedy.  It helped.  As for Quebec Premier Pauline Marois, she was in Lac-Mégantic yesterday.   This also helped.  However, the very first persons to arrive in Lac-Mégantic were people carrying supplies: food, clothing, bedding.  At the moment, thirty-five psychologists and social workers are in Lac-Mégantic helping the survivors, some of whom had to be hospitalized.  They collapsed.

Imagine the conductor, Mr Tom Harding.   He was spending the night in Lac-Mégantic and was awakened by an explosion.  Ironically, the noise he heard came from his train.  It had exploded.   Mr Harding had stopped the train for the night and left it on a hill.  It seems the brake failed.  Mr Harding has already been relieved of his duties by the Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway Company.  This could be too hasty and insensitive a decision on the part of the Company.  Mr Harding is among the victims of that tragedy.

Mr Edward Burkhardt, the Chairman of the Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway Company, has now travelled to Lac-Mégantic.  People have hurled insults at him. That was a rather ugly scene.

So far, the charred remains of twenty-four victims have been found, but individuals are still missing and a few persons who were presumed dead, are alive.  It would appear fifty persons died.


Logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

© Micheline Walker
July 12, 2013
Bach-Wood Lament
Sir Henry Wood (3 March 1869 – 19 August 1944)
conductor: Leonard Slatkin (b. 1944)
The BBC Symphony

Sir Henry Wood’s ‘Suite No. 6’ is a set of six Bach transcriptions, arranged from various sources, that includes this heartfelt ‘Lament.’  It is the ‘Adagio’ from Bach’s ‘Capriccio on the Departure of His Most Beloved Brother’ in B-flat major, BWV 992.  (YouTube video)