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Quebec Oil-Train Disaster Report Filed With Prosecutors

Quebec Derailment Disaster
Wreckage continues to burn on July 7, 2013 after a freight train loaded with oil derailed July 6 in Lac-Megantic in Canada's Quebec province, sparking explosions that engulfed many buildings in a wall of fire. Photographer: François Laplante-Delagrave/AFP via Getty Images

Quebec police have finished and filed with authorities their investigation into the Lac-Megantic train disaster that killed 47 people and prompted backlash against the growing practice of transporting crude oil by rail.

The report has been sent to Quebec provincial prosecutors, said Claude Denis, a spokesman for Quebec’s provincial police service. A story by the QMI news service on March 22, citing an unidentified police source, said the train’s engineer knew some of the train’s brakes were broken and that police expected prosecutors to file criminal charges.

In July 2013, a train operated by closely held Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway Ltd. rolled downhill into the small Quebec town of Lac-Megantic, came off the tracks and exploded. The crash destroyed dozens of buildings, including a bar filled with patrons.

The disaster prompted regulators in the U.S. and Canada to adopt new rules about transporting oil on rail lines, a practice that has grown because of increases in North American oil production and a lack of pipeline infrastructure.

Martine Berube, a spokeswoman for the Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions of Quebec, couldn’t be reached for comment.

Montreal, Maine & Atlantic filed for bankruptcy in August 2013. Ed Burkhardt, the company’s chairman, didn’t return a telephone message left at his office outside of regular business hours.

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