Question: Could this happen here?

LAC MEGANTIC, Que. – Balls of flames shot several metres into the air after a train carrying crude oil derailed in the Quebec town of Lac-Megantic early Saturday, sparking several explosions.
Hundreds of people were evacuated in the community about 250 kilometres east of Montreal.

It was not immediately known whether there were any casualties.

“It’s dreadful,” said Lac-Megantic resident Claude Bedard. “It’s terrible. We’ve never seen anything like it. The Metro store, Dollarama, everything that was there is gone.”

Some of the train’s 73 cars exploded and a fire that that could be seen for several kilometres spread to a number of homes.

A large but undetermined amount of fuel also reportedly spilled into the Chaudiere River.“The flames in the sky were really impressive,” said resident Pierre Lebeau.

Several neighbouring municipalities, including Sherbrooke and Saint-Georges-de-Beauce, were enlisted to help Lac-Megantic deal with the disaster.

The train belongs to Montreal Maine & Atlantic, which says on its website that it owns more than 800 kilometres of track servong Maine, Vermont, Quebec and New Brunswick.

The cause of the derailment was not immediately known.

© The Canadian Press, 2013
Train derailment sparks major fire in Quebec’s Eastern Townships