(CNN) — The chairman of the company whose driverless train barreled into the small Quebec town of Lac-Megantic and unleashed a deadly inferno told a Montreal newspaper he believes it had been tampered with.
“We have evidence of this,” Ed Burkhardt said in an interview published by the Montreal Gazette. “But this is an item that needs further investigation. We need to talk to some people we believe to have knowledge of this.”
The company did not immediately return phone calls from CNN about the report. Burkhardt is the chief executive officer and president of Rail World, the parent company of the Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway, the operator of the derailed train.
Seventy-two tanker cars carrying crude oil jumped the track early Saturday, setting off a huge fireball. At least 13 people are dead and 37 are missing. Officials in the town 130 miles east of Montreal say some were likely vaporized by the sheer intensity of the blaze, which burned for 36 hours.
About 2,000 residents were evacuated. On Tuesday morning, authorities said the fire is now under control and 1,200 people will be permitted to go back to their homes immediately. Another 800 still cannot return, the officials said.