LAC-MEGANTIC, Quebec, July 17 (UPI) -- "Everything is just smashed together" where a train derailment destroyed much of a small Canadian town, said a journalist allowed a close look at the scene.
The observation was made after reporters were permitted for the first time inside the "yellow zone" just outside the center of the blasts in Lac-Megantic, the CBC reported Tuesday.
Some tankers from the train "have actually dug into the ground," said Peter Tardif, one of several CBC reporters taken to the scene on a bus. Some of the tankers were 200 to 300 yards from the derailment site.
"Everything was just smashed together. It looks as if someone just placed them there," he said.
Another reporter, Willy Lowry, said the ruined train cars "almost look like inflatable toys piled up there."
Lampposts on the esplanade along the lakefront were melted "into the most bizarre shapes," he said, and the force of the explosion had cracked boulders.
Debris covers "at least a football field-sized area," said Thomas Daigle. He noted that a part of downtown "still looks perfectly normal."
"The magnitude of rebuilding is enormous," said Marika Wheeler.