In a horrific train catastrophe that left thirteen confirmed dead and dozens still missing there has been a report that a fire was put out on the train after it had been parked for the evening.
It was after fire crews had put out the small fire and left the scene that the train had uncoupled and started its four mile path to destruction.
The train's black box is being studied to yield more clues and efforts are underway to find those still missing. Many missing may never be identified due to the intensity of the oil fueled conflagration.
The train had been parked in the village of Nantes, about 7km (four miles) from Lac-Megantic, during an overnight driver shift-change on Friday evening.I was under the impression that trains used a spring brake system that would engage the brakes in a locked position when air pressure was removed from the line. Were these spring brakes not maintained to ensure they would engage the brakes fully when air pressure was removed is a question still not answered.
Sometime afterward, 73 cars carrying pressurised containers of crude oil came uncoupled from five locomotive engines, gathering speed as they rolled downhill before derailing in the heart of Lac-Megantic, about 250km east of Montreal.
An official statement from the train operator said the brakes on the locomotive had somehow completely shutdown after the engineer left the train.
This "may have resulted in the release of air brakes on the locomotive that was holding the train in place", the firm said.