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Lac Megantic: A first look at the blast zone

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A first public glimpse of the disaster site in Lac-Megantic left stunned visitors staring Tuesday at three-storey buildings reduced to piles of brick, road asphalt melted into bubbly tar, and pine trees scorched into sticks of charcoal.

  • A first public glimpse of the disaster site in Lac-Megantic left stunned visitors staring Tuesday at three-storey buildings reduced to piles of brick, road asphalt melted into bubbly tar, and pine trees scorched into sticks of charcoal.

    Ryan Remiorz / The Canadian Press

    A first public glimpse of the disaster site in Lac-Megantic left stunned visitors staring Tuesday at three-storey buildings reduced to piles of brick, road asphalt melted into bubbly tar, and pine trees scorched into sticks of charcoal.

  • Burnt rail tankers are still steaming with heat, a week after the explosions. The temperature near the blast site remains, according to authorities, 10 to 20 degrees higher than elsewhere.

    Ryan Remiorz / The Canadian Press

    Burnt rail tankers are still steaming with heat, a week after the explosions. The temperature near the blast site remains, according to authorities, 10 to 20 degrees higher than elsewhere.

  • Until Tuesday, only civil authorities and visiting politicians had viewed the site.

    Ryan Remiorz / The Canadian Press

    Until Tuesday, only civil authorities and visiting politicians had viewed the site.

  • News media were allowed behind the walls of the security perimeter for the first time, in order to let them observe the scene and share what they saw with the broader public.

    Ryan Remiorz / The Canadian Press

    News media were allowed behind the walls of the security perimeter for the first time, in order to let them observe the scene and share what they saw with the broader public.

  • Visitors weren't entirely prepared for what they saw when they ventured onto the site — which Prime Minister Stephen Harper had previously described a

    Ryan Remiorz / The Canadian Press

    Visitors weren't entirely prepared for what they saw when they ventured onto the site — which Prime Minister Stephen Harper had previously described a "war zone" after he visited. The destruction was so shocking that one local reporter burst into tears.

  • Mechanical diggers clanged as they dug through the rubble alongside a group of a dozen firefighters and search crews. Those crews found one more body Tuesday — the 38th recovered on the site. Fifty people are believed to have died in the disaster.

    Ryan Remiorz / The Canadian Press

    Mechanical diggers clanged as they dug through the rubble alongside a group of a dozen firefighters and search crews. Those crews found one more body Tuesday — the 38th recovered on the site. Fifty people are believed to have died in the disaster.

  • Police gave strict instructions about what images could be shown for fear of upsetting the families of victims, or compromising the investigation.
Only one TV cameraman, one web-video journalist, one photographer, and one radio reporter were allowed to record inside the perimeter. The images gathered from Tuesday morning's media pool were shared with other news outlets, then released to the public.

    Ryan Remiorz / The Canadian Press

    Police gave strict instructions about what images could be shown for fear of upsetting the families of victims, or compromising the investigation. Only one TV cameraman, one web-video journalist, one photographer, and one radio reporter were allowed to record inside the perimeter. The images gathered from Tuesday morning's media pool were shared with other news outlets, then released to the public.

  • Along the town's main strip, a row of buildings on either side had been completely destroyed in the explosions, while in the other direction storefronts and cafe patios were undamaged.
That's because the scalding oil leaked downhill, towards the lake, bringing flames that roared through everything in their wake, police said.
The only marker for Musi-Cafe, the popular bar where many people died, was a tent put up to shade workers as they searched for bodies.

    Ryan Remiorz / The Canadian Press

    Along the town's main strip, a row of buildings on either side had been completely destroyed in the explosions, while in the other direction storefronts and cafe patios were undamaged. That's because the scalding oil leaked downhill, towards the lake, bringing flames that roared through everything in their wake, police said. The only marker for Musi-Cafe, the popular bar where many people died, was a tent put up to shade workers as they searched for bodies.

  • The burnt tanker cars, once filled with crude oil, remained smashed and piled together 10 days after a fast-moving runaway train derailed near the centre of town.

    Ryan Remiorz / The Canadian Press

    The burnt tanker cars, once filled with crude oil, remained smashed and piled together 10 days after a fast-moving runaway train derailed near the centre of town.

  • Work continues at the crash site of the train derailment and fire.

    Ryan Remiorz / The Canadian Press

    Work continues at the crash site of the train derailment and fire.

  • The aftermath of a train derailment and fire is seen in Lac-Megantic, Que., on Tuesday, July 16, 2013.

    Ryan Remiorz / The Canadian Press

    The aftermath of a train derailment and fire is seen in Lac-Megantic, Que., on Tuesday, July 16, 2013.

  • Investigators gather under a tent as they search for victims through rubble in Lac-Megantic, Que., Sunday.

    Jacques Boissinot / The Canadian Press

    Investigators gather under a tent as they search for victims through rubble in Lac-Megantic, Que., Sunday.

  • The aftermath of a train derailment and fire is seen in Lac-Megantic on Tuesday.

    Ryan Remiorz / The Canadian Press

    The aftermath of a train derailment and fire is seen in Lac-Megantic on Tuesday.

  • A memorial to victims of the the Lac-Megantic, Que., train derailment and fire is seen in a church in Lac-Megantic on Tuesday, July 16, 2013.

    Ryan Remiorz / The Canadian Press

    A memorial to victims of the the Lac-Megantic, Que., train derailment and fire is seen in a church in Lac-Megantic on Tuesday, July 16, 2013.

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