Maine firm in Quebec tragedy files for bankruptcy

FILE - In this Tuesday, July 9, 2013 file photo, workers comb through debris after a train derailed three days earlier causing explosions of railway cars carrying crude oil in Lac-Megantic, Quebec. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Paul Chiasson, File)
FILE - In this Tuesday, July 9, 2013 file photo, workers comb through debris after a train derailed three days earlier causing explosions of railway cars carrying crude oil in Lac-Megantic, Quebec. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Paul Chiasson, File)

BANGOR, Maine (AP) — A Maine-based railroad company whose oil train caused a fire and explosion that killed 47 people in a small town in Canada has filed for bankruptcy protection.

The Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway Inc. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Wednesday.

Company Chairman Ed Burkhardt had said a bankruptcy filing was likely following service disruptions because its rail line remains closed in Lac-Megantic (lak may-gahn-TEEK’), Quebec. The Hermon-based company also faces lawsuits and enormous cleanup costs following the July 6 derailment and disaster in Lac-Megantic.

The train had 72 tankers full of crude oil and was unattended when it began rolling, eventually tearing into the town. Burkhardt blamed the train’s operator for failing to set enough hand brakes.

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