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    September 24

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Head of railway company visits Quebec

CAROL MARTINDALE, carolmartindale@nationnews.com

Added 10 July 2013

canadatrainwreckdebris

LAC-MEGANTIC, Quebec (AP) — The head of the rail company whose runaway oil train set off a fiery explosion that left at least 15 people dead and incinerated 30 buildings was visiting the shell-shocked town in Quebec today, as officials upped the number of missing to 45. Edward Burkhardt, president and CEO of the railway's parent company, Rail World Inc., was expected a day after police announced they were pursuing a painstaking, wide-ranging criminal investigation of the inferno ignited by the derailment of the oil train that demolished the center of this lakeside town of 6,000. Flanked by reporters at Montreal's Trudeau airport Tuesday evening, Burkhardt suggested firefighters who extinguished an earlier fire on the same train shared some of the blame. "We have responsibility for this incident. We don't have total responsibility but we have partial responsibility," Burkhardt said in remarks broadcast on CTV. At a press conference, shortly before Burkhardt was due to arrive, Quebec Premier Pauline Marois faulted the company's response in the wake of the disaster. "We have realized there are serious gaps from the railway company from not having been there and not communicating with the public," Marois said. She also announced a $60-million fund to help victims in Lac-Megantic. Quebec police inspector Michel Forget announced this morning that the number of missing had risen to 60, a number that included the 15 bodies recovered so far that have been burnt beyond recognition. Police had earlier put the number of missing at 50. Forget said the numbers remained in flux as reports of missing people trickled in or people believed to be missing turned out to be alive.

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