Yesterday, the tiny community of Lac Mégantic was devastated by the derailment and resulting conflagration of a train transporting crude oil. Unfortunately, the worst case scenario occurred and the train derailed right in the central core of the town, where it could do the most damage to people and property.
This particular tragedy truly hit home for me in a couple of ways.
- The first is a personal connection in that one of the communities my father’s ancestry originates from is Lac Mégantic – on the Turmel / Turmaine side. This geographic connection ended for our branch of the family when the children of Joseph Richard and Catherine (Bisson) Turmel (3rd great grandparents to my children, Erin and Stu) all located elsewhere throughout their lives, although other branches of the family remained in the area. Both Catherine and Joseph Richard ended their days in Lac Mégantic.
Of their children, the eldest, Joseph Herménégilde Turmaine (2nd great grandfather to Erin and Stu, and great grandfather to me) was born March 21, 1868 in Lac Mégantic, Frontenac County, Québec, Canada, eventually relocated to Steelton, Algoma, Ontario for work in the steel mill there. His son, my grandfather Henri, followed in his footsteps and worked in the mill as well.
Their other children were:
Amedie Turmaine, born in 1869. He married Leda Gagnon and died on March 30, 1950.
Delvine Turmaine was born about November of 1857, married David Filion on February 3, 1880 in St-Zenon-de-Piopolis, Frontenac County, Québec, Canada. She died on 02 Dec 1922 in St-Sébastien, Beauce County, Québec, Canada.
Euphémie Turmaine was born in 1872 in Québec, Québec. She married Napoléon Boulanger before 1925.
- The second is that, in my twenties, I lived through a similar incident involving a tanker truck carrying propane overturning on the Island Highway in Courtenay, British Columbia. The site was close enough to my home that I was awakened at 6 am by police advising me to evacuate immediately due to the risk of explosion as a result of leaks from the damage. We were all very lucky. The authorities were able to right the truck without further incident and we were able to return to our homes.