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Train carrying crude oil derails in Quebec... Town center 'wiped out'... 30 buildings destroyed, residents missing...

 Credit: Live Leak

Credit: Live Leak

A large swath of a town in eastern Quebec was destroyed Saturday after a train carrying crude oil derailed, sparking several explosions and forcing the evacuation of up to 1,000 people.

Several people were reported missing but Quebec provincial police Lt. Michel Brunet said it was too early to say if there are any casualties in the town of Lac-Megantic (Lack-MAH-Gan-Tic), about 155 miles  east of Montreal.

The explosions ignited a blaze that sent flames shooting into the sky, and billowing smoke could be seen from several miles (kilometers) away hours after the derailment. Some of the train's 73 cars exploded and the fire spread to a number of homes in the town of 6,000 people.

Lac-Megantic resident Claude Bedard described the scene of the explosions as "dreadful."

"It's terrible," Bedard said. "We've never seen anything like it. The Metro store, Dollarama, everything that was there is gone."

"The flames in the sky were really impressive," said resident Pierre Lebeau.

The cause of the derailment was not immediately known.

Authorities set up perimeters as firefighters battled to control the fire, and worried residents looked on amid fears that some of their friends and loved ones may have died in their homes. Read more via Fox News...

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