Canada premier denounces rail company’s response

LAC-MEGANTIC, Quebec (AP) — The premier of the Canadian province of Quebec is denouncing the response of railroad executives in the aftermath of a fiery derailment and explosion that left 50 people dead.

Premier Pauline Marois arrived today in Lac-Megantic (lak MAH’-gan-tihk), the community that was partly demolished by the explosion of oil tanker cars on the runaway train early Saturday.

She said before arriving in the town that there have been “serious gaps” from the railroad company “from not having been there and not communicating with the public.” And she described as “deplorable” and “unacceptable” the attitude of Edward Burkhardt, the head of the U.S.-based parent company of the railway company.

Burkhardt himself arrived in the town yesterday with a police escort, and faced jeers from residents. He said he had delayed his visit in order to deal with the crisis from his office in Chicago.

Burkhardt yesterday blamed an engineer for failing to set the brakes properly before the train hurtled down a seven-mile incline, derailed and ignited. He said the engineer had been suspended without pay and was under “police control.”

%@AP Links

228-a-15-(Edward Burkhardt, chief executive officer, Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway parent company Rail World Inc., at news conference)-”thought was correct”-Railroad CEO Edward Burkhardt says the switches and apparatus in the locomotive were improperly set, but it wasn’t sabotage or vandalism. COURTESY: CTV ((mandatory on-air credit)) (10 Jul 2013)

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APPHOTO PCH102: Rail World Inc. president Edward Burkhardt speaks to the media as he tours Lac-Megantic, Quebec, on Wednesday, July 10, 2013. A Rail World train crashed into the town killing at least 15 people. Burkhardt blamed the accident on an employee who he said had failed to properly set the brakes. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Paul Chiasson) (10 Jul 2013)

<<APPHOTO PCH102 (07/10/13)££

APPHOTO RYR211: Angry citizens heckle Rail World Inc. president Edward Burkhardt as he tours Lac-Megantic, Quebec, on Wednesday, July 10, 2013. A Rail World oil train train crashed into the town, killing at least 15 people. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Paul Chiasson) (10 Jul 2013)

<<APPHOTO RYR211 (07/10/13)££

APPHOTO RYR201: Investigators look over tanker cars that were pulled away from the Lac-Mégantic derailed train inferno, in Nantes, Quebec on Thursday July 11, 2013. Everyone missing in the fiery crash of a runaway oil train in Quebec is presumed dead, police told grieving families, bringing the death toll to 50 in Canada’s worst railway catastrophe in almost 150 years. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Ryan Remiorz) (11 Jul 2013)

<<APPHOTO RYR201 (07/11/13)££

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