Horrible Disaster at Lac Mégantic

***“An accident waiting to happen”***! That was what a friend of mine, a rail transport specialist, commented on after the horrible disaster that happened at Lac Mégantic, Québec, last Saturday!

So far, 28 people are confirmed dead and around 30 are missing, a week after as rescue workers and police slowly shift through the gigantic rubble. This peaceful little town, like so many in Canada and the U.S., is surrounded by rail tracks and is almost decimated!

Rail cars are now being used as pipelines and are totally unsuited to do this! This shipment originated in North Dakota and was destined for Irving’s refinery in Saint John, New Brunswick. This tragedy could have happened anywhere along the line, in Canada or the U.S.!

The rail company (MMA) Chairman, Ed Burkhardt really didn’t impress anybody by defending his position in stating that “industry standards had been respected”, then contradicting himself by first calling the lone engineer a “hero” and then subsequently blaming him for negligence.

A 72 tanker train handled by one man and then “parked” overnight! This “industry standard” may be adequate for a small load of non-hazardeous materials but it is clearly not for crude oil especially when the containers aren’t made for this!

As the demand for oil continues to grow and no pipeline capacity exists (read Keystone…), railway companies, motivated by profits over safety, are transporting bigger and longer loads of crude across the continent.

It is high time governments tighten the rules before another such tragedy occurs!


Build a damn pipeline already!!!

Has anyone blamed Obama yet?

Hi Michael,

Not that I know of. The guy really getting the flack is the MMA Railway Chairman: he only showed-up on site 5 days later and didn’t even meet local authorities and his excuses on CNN were, at best, flimsy.

Where I live, in a suburb of Montreal on the South Shore of the St. Lawrence River directly opposite Montreal, every day sees a convoy of 100-125 tank cars carrying gazoline (much more flammable than crude), passing through to Montreal using a bridge (actually from a refinery downriver in Québec City), coming onto Montreal Island to depots there. Now just consider IF something happened in this case! This is not a small town of a few thousand people but a metropolis of more than 3 million people! And this is gasoline!!

Yet, as far as I know, this “disaster in waiting” hasn’t even been mentioned anywhere and it happens EVERY DAY! DITTO for a lot of places around North America!

EVERY person living near a railroad track should be aware of what goes by!



colateral damage. I live 1 hour away from lac megantic right on the shore of the Chaudière river. We’re lucky that we don’t pump our water from the river but many small towns along it are. That crud oil spill has polluted a 100 mile long river.

On many occasions corruption comes from the top and the ones that pay in the long run are the** innocent individuals**. Yet we seem to make the same mistake everywhere of assuming the Government knows best how to protect us. Thing is allot of laws set out don’t protect anyone as they are not enforced or not even including safety until after an accident of this magnitude.
Think of what the CEO said in an interview.
The Policy does not say they need to lock the door.
The Policy says they can park on a hill as long as they apply the proper amount of hand breaks.
The Policy says they can use only one Conductor.
The list could go on but we all get the point by now I hope.

Well that didn’t take very long!

Sorely needed

I like but how can I like on the InterNachi MB. LOL

Sure…I think you already did.:wink:

As I write this, the number of bodies continues to increase! Meanwhile, small towns in North Dakota, where this specific shipment originated, or Manitoba, or Michigan, Maine, Ontario, Quebec etc., are being “visited” by these passing “time bombs” all under the control of one “engineer”! And as the established routine dictates, this “engineer” is not replaced by another. but simply “parks” the whole load until he can get some R&R!


I’m an ex-pilot and air regulations obligate a second pilot being present at all times on commercial flights. This should be the norm on ALL railroad operations! Further, as may be the case now (I don’t know) a mandatory checklist report should be filed by the attending engineer.

We simply can’t wait until another tragedy such as Lac Mégantic occurs!!



Words that ring true every time!!!
“An accident waiting to happen” This is what a former Engineer said on the news.
He no longer works for the Company in Question and said in an interview that the uncaring attitude came from the top.
Lesson to be learned here is if you work for such a company, get out if you can. Safety should be the first line of defense in any business and if it is not that company will eventually cause more grief than you need.
Lack of thinking safety first rather than cost in this tragedy was very costly in the end.

Here is the final on the Elliot Lake Roof Collapse!

Elliot Lake mall owners downplayed leaking roof
The Code Inspector (Robert Wood) is not related to me or family.

Nazarians tried to sell mall before fatal collapse, inquiry hears

CBC News

Posted: Jul 16, 2013 9:50 AM ET
Last Updated: Jul 16, 2013 1:29 PM ET

The public inquiry in Elliot Lake is learning more about why the owners of the Algo Centre mall wanted an engineer to soften his report after inspecting the building, just weeks before last summer’s fatal roof collapse.

The inquiry will hear again Tuesday from Levon Nazarian, son of mall owner Bob Nazarian.

Follow CBC News reporter Megan Thomas’s live blog of Tuesday’s proceedings:
On Monday, Nazarian admitted he put in the request to have an engineering report on the troubled mall altered. That inspection was done by engineer Robert Wood just weeks before the roof collapsed.

Nazarian explained why he and his father wanted photos of a rusty beam and tarps collecting rain water inside the mall removed — he said he needed the report to paint a rosier picture for a refinancing application for the mall.

“To a layman, it might not look like surface rusting,” he told the inquiry. “As well as just for the purpose of a better presentation, I posed the question of why it was necessary.”

Nazarian said he just asked the question, and it was up to Wood to say if the changes were important.

He said Wood’s report didn’t flag a structural problem, so he didn’t think the photos mattered.

“That was my guess,” he said.

Levon Nezarian listens to his father, Robert, as they wait to testify at the Elliot Lake Inquiry on Monday. The pair own and managed the now-demolished Algo Centre Mall.

Levon Nezarian listens to his father, Robert, as they wait to testify at the Elliot Lake Inquiry on Monday. The pair own and managed the now-demolished Algo Centre Mall. Yvon Theriault/Radio-Canada
Would have repaired

“Your guess,” commission counsel Peter Doody asked. “Why did you make that guess?”

“Because it doesn’t relate to structure,” Nazarian said.

Wood is facing separate charges under health and safety legislation in connection with the mall collapse.

Nazarian told the inquiry that money from refinancing would have gone to repairs at the mall.

But the roof caved in before that could happen.

The inquiry also heard Monday that the Nazarians were looking to sell the mall in the years just before the roof collapse last summer.

The inquiry heard one deal fell apart because the buyer determined it would cost too much to fix the leaky roof.


Nazarian admitted to Doody that he passed along a false claim about the status of roof repairs to another potential buyer.

In documents that were part of the deal, the status of roof repairs at the mall were listed as “perfect.”

“Whatever we were doing, I believed we were doing right because the leaks were being minimized,” Nazarian said.

“You knew they were not perfect, correct?” Doody asked.

“No, we had leaks here and there. So yes, they were not perfect,” Nazarian replied.

Doody: “So the answer ‘perfect’ was false?”

Nazarian: “That’s correct.”

Hurting father’s health

Nazarian said he couldn’t recall if he read the documents before he passed them along to the potential purchaser, but admitted it would have been prudent to do so.

Nazarian told the inquiry he wanted to get the mall sold because dealing with all the problems was hurting his father’s health.

Bob Nazarian still owned it last summer when the roof fell, killing two people.

The public inquiry was established in July 2012 by the Ontario government and has been underway in Elliot Lake since March.

It was created to report on events surrounding the mall roof’s collapse on June 23, 2012, the deaths of Lucie Aylwin and Doloris Perizzolo, the injuries to others and the emergency management and response.

Note that the Code Inspector is not related to me or family.

Did not apply enough brakes! Lets see, they parked on a hill and then left the door unlocked on the Train, allowed one Engineer to carry a large bomb across Quebec area and gave him permission to leave the bomb unattended to go get some sleep.
Sounds to me that all of Quebec needs a third party to make sure they know what they are doing.
Maybe this should apply to Home Inspections and Building Inspectors also.
What do you think?

I think we all say we wish the residents well.

I feel so sorry for the loss.

The last statement (above post) “The province of Quebec is the only province to allow one man crews on main tracts” is simply NOT FACT!

FACT: All such activity is regulated by Transport Canada and Québec has little or nothing to do with it!

FACT: There are no rules against leaving an unlocked, unmanned, running locomotive and its flammable cargo on a main rail line uphill from a populated centre.

FACT: There are no rules against one-person crews.

You should check your FACTS before making such statements!



FACT: All such activity is regulated by Transport Canada and Québec has little or nothing to do with it!

Yes they do sir.
Please read about Canada’s rail industries voluntary decision.
Then about Quebec.

So rules that are wrong seem to fit this tragedy

Lac-Mégantic, was one of (only two railway companies) to operate with one-person crews in Canada
The other is the Quebec North Shore and Labrador Railway

So again you are mistaken.

So Mr. Larin. The facts are in sir.

I can pull up many more facts that you seem to be avoiding due to your bias about me. facts that would have any provincial government stop such nonsense.

Jealousy maybe?
Maybe I have some facts that are solid Gilles.

Yes I make mistakes.
I will admit to them when reviewed sir.

There is no right answer Gilles to a tragedy like this?
Canada rail industry leaders voluntarily stop the practice but Quebec moves along its own path.

Look at the Montreal’s coat of arm sir.

PS: A parrot being removed from the Biodome for speaking english. Read more
Too bad.
so sad.
I wish we could agree on something.

Lets say you are right.
Please show me where Quebec partitioned the feds to stop these last two lines.
The rest of Canada stopped Gilles.

Currently, there are more than 2,000 km of railways under provincial jurisdiction which include shortline railways moving grain, oil and wood products; industrial railways providing service to facilities and amusement railways providing educational tours within some of Saskatchewan’s heritage parks.

Shortline rail offers an important link between remote delivery points to mainline rail carriers such as CN and CP Railways, which move the products to port. These rail lines operate in accordance with The Railway Act and the Provincial Railway Guides. The Ministry administers and enforces the Act.
Read more…*

Mr. larin,
An olive branch.
The third one offered.
It ends at thrice.

If you wish to debate then do so with fact please.
It does sharpens one’s skills.

Wit, well leave that one behind unless you wish to tango but please isr,.
that paint brush you use so ready to discriminate, and demean fellow InterNACHI members with is tiresome.
We all realize you like to paint.

For once G, could you use some fact so any opponent in a debate could see how skilled and knowledgeable you really are?

Best regards.

Question Mr. Larin; Did you expect me to roll over because you did not want to let me be the leader of the chapter I started and worked tireless to create?
Why the chapter? I conceived going forward to the OACIQ then to the provincial government.
I invited you to lead if you wished. I just want to follow the protocol and learn.

You have taken what is not yours.
You have threatened me, tried black mall and then seeing I do not bend like Marc. B., try inviting me into my own agenda.
Those are the facts.

Please allow everyone some dignity sir.

Yes Robert Quebec has shown their pride on many levels.