(LAC-MEGANTIC, Canada) — Five people are confirmed dead and the entire town of Lac-Megantic in Quebec, Canada, was evacuated after a freight train carrying crude oil derailed and caught fire, officials told ABC News.
The 80-car-long freight train exploded at approximately 1 a.m. Saturday morning, filling the sky with thick, black smoke.
“It was like a big mushroom,” said Anne-Julie Hallee, a resident who witnessed the explosion.”Like a nuclear attack or something. It was so warm and we’re very far from there.”
“It was like the end of the world,” Hallee said.
Officials found one body on Saturday, and four more on Sunday. Quebec provincial police Lt. Michel Brunet said 40 people are still unnacounted for. At least 30 buildings were destroyed by the explosion and flames.
Dispatcher Stan Wheeler with the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office in Maine told ABC News Radio that more than 30 firefighters responded to the massive fire.
A one kilometer perimeter around the accident has been closed off.
Radio-Canada reported the train was en route to Maine. It is unclear how the train derailed.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Susan Scutti, CNN
Andreas Preuss, CNN
Lorenzo Ferrigno, CNN