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Lac-Megantic fire burned brightly enough to be seen from space


Daniel Martins
Digital Reporter

Saturday, July 13, 2013, 9:19 -

Last weekend's deadly train crash in Lac-Megantic resulted in a fire large and bright enough to be seen from space.

Courtesy: NASA Earth Observatory

Courtesy: NASA Earth Observatory

NASA's Earth Observatory released this image on July 10. It was taken on July 6 at 2:21 a.m., not long after the crash.

When placed side-by-side with a picture of the same spot taken on July 4, two days prior, the difference is chilling. Lac Megantic is a bare pinprick of light in the earlier shot, and in the second, the fire raging in the community's heart is bright enough to rival Quebec City, the province's second largest metropolis.

NASA says the shot was taken by its Suomi NPP satellite, by an instrument that detects light in a variety of wavelengths.

The train that derailed in Lac-Megantic last weekend was carrying crude oil, which ignited and exploded after the crash.

The explosion and fires ravaged the community's downtown and forced the evacuation of 1,800 people.

At least 28 deaths have been confirmed, and authorities are combing the ruins for the remains of 22 others who are still missing.

Memorial services are planned across Quebec and in Lac-Megantic itself, church bells will ring 50 times at noon in honour of the dead and missing.

With files from the Canadian Press.

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