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New diary with emerging details and eyewitness accounts here.

A train carrying petrochemicals has exploded in a Canadian town, forcing the evacuation of up to 1,000 people.

The blast sent a fireball and black smoke into the air, destroying dozens of buildings in Lac-Megantic, some 155 miles (250 km) east of Montreal.

Seventy three cars derailed and exploded. The story according to BBC in the following video.

Is it tar sands? Too soon to tell. The media reports only indicate crude oil or "petro chemicals".

What is know is that a large amount of whatever it is "spilled into the nearby Chaudiere river, said Environment Quebec spokesman Christian Blanchette, adding that communities downstream of Lac-Megantic had been warned to take care if using river water."

Regardless of the contents of the tankers, supporters of the Keystone Pipeline will use this to support their agenda. Trains=unsafe , Pipeline=Safe

11:36 AM PT: Reuters is reporting the train was "driverless".

"We're not sure what happened, but the engineer did everything by the book. He had parked the train and was waiting for his relief ... somehow, the train got released," vice president of marketing Joseph R. McGonigle told Reuters.

"There appears to be extensive damage in buildings, but we haven't got full report yet of injuries. But we understand that there likely are some," he said.

The rail tracks pass next to a bar popular with young people. Eyewitness Yvon Rosa said he had just left the bar when he saw the train speeding into the middle of the town.

"I have never seen a train traveling that quickly into the center of Lac-Megantic," he told French-language broadcaster Radio-Canada, saying he watched as the train hurtled around a bend.

"I saw the wagons come off the tracks ... everything exploded. In just one minute the center of the town was covered in fire."


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