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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

July 11, 2013 at 4:36 PM

Quebec oil-train wreck

Will this happen again?

Smoke rises from railway cars that were carrying crude oil after derailing in Quebec, Saturday, July 6. A large swath of Lac Megantic was destroyed Saturday after a train carrying crude oil derailed, sparking several explosions and forcing the evacuation of up to 1,000 people. [AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Paul Chiasson.]

Smoke rises from railway cars that were carrying crude oil after derailing in Quebec, Saturday, July 6. [AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Paul Chiasson.]

Years ago, when I was stationed in Guam, one of my collateral duties was that of hazardous spill response team leader. [“Oil-train fire adds to state’s concerns,” page one, July 11.]

During one of our training sessions we were shown newsreel footage of a burning-liquid enclosed vessel explosion that occurred after a train derailment. What most stuck in my mind was how, in an instant, almost everything in view was instantly destroyed when a burning tank car exploded.

The contents were certainly even more volatile than crude oil, but the scene in Quebec was very reminiscent of that film from long ago. The question today is, how often are we prepared to see such an event replayed in our own neighborhood?

Thomas Munyon, Marysville

Comments | More in Environment, Seattle | Topics: burning liquid, crash, explosion

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