Lac-Mégantic Victims Challenge Corporations Behind Deadly Explosion
November 18, 2020 | News | No Comments
Two residents of Lac-Mégantic, Quebec have filed a class action lawsuit against the corporations behind the July 6 train derailment and explosion which killed nearly fifty people and devastated the small Canadian town.
Yannick Gagne and Guy Ouellet, who together own the Musi-Cafe—a bar that was crowded with people the night it was destroyed by the blast—are seeking damages from the Maine-based Montreal Maine & Atlantic Railway (MM&A), Irving Oil, World Fuel Services and its subsidiary Dakota Plains Holdings, which extracted the crude oil the train was carrying.
According to the Portland Press Herald, the plaintiffs filed a motion Monday in Quebec Superior Court seeking to authorize a class-action suit against the railway company. On Wednesday, they amended the motion to include the oil and extraction companies.
The unattended train was carrying 72 cars of crude oil from North Dakota’s Bakken shale fields to an Irving Oil refinery in Saint John, New Brunswick when it derailed initiating an explosion and fireball which engulfed the small downtown.
Meanwhile, the death toll for the disaster has risen to 42 after four more bodies were discovered Thursday. Eight more people remain unaccounted for though are presumed to be dead.
The impact on the town of 6,000 has been severe. Beyond the crippling effect of the casualties, the untold environmental costs continue to unfold.
An estimated 250,000 to 300,000 liters of oil spilled into Lac-Mégantic, according to Quebec’s Environment Minister. And, as the Globe and Mail report, traces of oil were visible in the Chaudière River “and the air was pungent with the scent of oil.”
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“Multi-coloured sheens could be seen on the surface of the water in areas where the current slowed, and the grass along some stretches of the shoreline was brown and straw-like,” they continue.
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