Watch above: It’s been one year since a tanker train derailed in Lac Megantic, killing 47 people. The town commemorated the devastating event with two masses. Billy Shields reports.
LAC-MEGANTIC – Marking 365 days — to the minute — when an oil-laden train derailed in the city centre, hundreds of people marched back to where the deadly fire occurred.
Most of those gathered wore a star; the star having become an emblem of a place where constellations are so visible.
Vicky Hamel, a resident who marched into the new downtown core after a commemorative mass said that she had the feeling that everyone was together in silence.
It was difficult she explained, but necessary also.
Colette Roy-Laroche, the mayor of Lac-Megantic, used the occasion to say that the whole town has lived through a nightmare, and that it is now time to turn the page.
The lakeside town opened its arms to the world Sunday morning, as first responders from all over North America attended another mass for the 47 people who died when a runaway train derailed a year ago.
Many of those firefighters, police, and paramedics had dark memories of that horrific day.
“The oil was like green molasses that was just flowing everywhere and on fire,” said Capt. Dennis Marquis, of the Rangeley Fire Department in Maine.
He and his department arrived the day of the disaster.
“The people in those buildings, you could tell they never had a chance.”
There are still many unanswered questions here — what will the town eventually look like when it’s rebuilt?
What about the court proceedings against the three railway workers charged with crimes in relation to the explosion?
And of course — what about the future of the train tracks? The mayor has stated she doesn’t want them rolling through the downtown, but Transport Canada has said the issue must be examined.
The proceedings caused some to break down and some told Global News that the wounds from the tragedy are still too fresh.
“It’s going to stay hard,” said Michelle Boucher, a native of Lac-Megantic who moved to Connecticut. She raises money for the town from the States.
“It’s friends, it’s basically our roots that have been touched.”
© Shaw Media, 2014