BUSINESS

Maine-based railroad company whose train caused Quebec fire, explosion files for bankruptcy

08/07/2013 04:14 EDT | Updated 10/07/2013 05:12 EDT
BANGOR, Maine - A railroad company whose runaway oil train caused a fire and explosion that killed 47 people in a small town in Canada filed for bankruptcy protection on Wednesday.

The Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway Inc. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in U.S. and Canadian courts, citing debts to more than 200 creditors following the July disaster in Lac-Megantic, Quebec.

Company Chairman Ed Burkhardt had said previously that a bankruptcy filing was likely following service disruptions because its rail line remains closed in Lac-Megantic. The Hermon-based company also faces lawsuits and enormous cleanup costs following the July 6 derailment and disaster in Lac-Megantic.

The parked train, with 72 tankers full of crude oil, was unattended when it began rolling toward town, eventually derailing downtown. Several tankers exploded, destroying 40 buildings in the lakeside town of 6,000 residents.

The company blamed the train's operator for failing to set enough hand brakes.

Since the accident, the railroad has laid off 67 workers in Maine, 47 of whom live around Brownville and nearby Milo, where the railroad has a large repair shop.