LAC-MEGANTIC, Que. – Provincial police have raided an office belonging to the railway involved in the Lac-Megantic disaster.
Surete du Quebec officers have visited the Farnham, Que., office of the Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway.
Farnham is between Montreal and Lac-Megantic and is the home of Tom Harding, the engineer of the train that crashed into the community.
Police say they gathered evidence.
They say it’s a normal operation, given that they’re conducting an investigation into the July 6 tragedy. The company chairman, Ed Burkhardt, has already been questioned for hours by the SQ.
A number of lawsuits have been launched in the case, in addition to separate investigations being conducted by police and transportation-safety officials.
The disaster has already prompted some changes to federal safety guidelines for railways.
Meanwhile, the parish priest in Lac-Megantic says an upcoming memorial ceremony will give the community its first opportunity to pause and grieve together.
Ste-Agnes Church will hold a Roman Catholic mass and memorial service Saturday to remember the victims of the derailment that killed an estimated 47 people.
“I don’t think there are any words that can make sense of such an event, one of so much suffering,” Father Steve Lemay, who will deliver the homily, told a news conference Thursday.
“On the other hand, I have seen since the first moments of the disaster, of the tragedy, the power of love present in the mutual aid, in the brotherhood, in the welcoming, the listening, the sharing. And these expressions show me that death can do nothing against love.”
Rail tankers carrying crude oil smashed into the heart of the town of 6,000 people, triggering a series of explosions and engulfing the area in fire.
The crash wiped out dozens of buildings in the downtown core, while millions of litres of oil leaked into the soil and nearby water bodies.
The service will be presided over by Luc Cyr, the archbishop of Sherbrooke.
Organizers of the service have reserved 700 places in the 1,000-seat church for loved ones of the derailment victims. Remaining pew spots in the church have been set aside for locals, volunteers and dignitaries.
Two big-screen TVs will be set up outside the church and will broadcast the ceremony live.
Maine Governor Paul LePage is expected to be among those at the service.