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Lac-Megantic, Quebec, begins return to normalcy, vigil planned

July 12, 2013 at 4:00 PM   |   Comments

LAC-MAGANTIC, Quebec, July 12 (UPI) -- Homes and business reopened Friday in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, as the town prepared for a vigil one week after a runaway train exploded, killing 24 people.

The train explosion July 6 leveled much of the town and 26 people were still missing Friday, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. said.

Friends and loved ones of the missing will gather early Saturday in Lac-Megantic's high school for a tribute, and vigils are planned across Canada and in nearby U.S. states of Vermont and Maine, in the first community gatherings to mourn the town's loss after a week of evacuations, public health concerns and the cleanup of oil and debris dispersed when the 72-car train ran off the rails and exploded, the CBC noted.

Police, concerned too many people might attend the high school event, recommended private vigils in hometowns as an alternative to traveling to Lac-Megantic.

A fence has been erected in the downtown section of the town, blocking views of the devastation.

Police allowed residents to return to their homes Friday, and a bell in the town's main church rang for the first time since the incident.

"It's good to be home, even if we're near a disaster area," said Andre Gabouri, 47, as he stood on his doorstep and observed the pile of train cars.

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