Sonia Pepin recalls hearing the train like never before. The tracks are a few feet from her home, and her whole house shook, she said.
Investigators with the Transportation Safety Board of Canada found the locomotive event recorder, which they can analyze for information on throttle position and speed, among other data.
Oil transport safe?
Petroleum products have increasingly been transported via rail in the past five years, according to the railroad industry, and Canada has had multiple issues with derailments in recent months.
Last month, four Canadian Pacific rail cars carrying flammable petrochemicals used to dilute oil derailed on a flood-damaged bridge spanning Calgary's Bow River, according to the Calgary Herald.
In another incident involving Canadian Pacific, five tankers containing oil derailed in rural Saskatchewan in May, spilling 575 barrels of crude, the Toronto Sun reported.
A month earlier, 22 Canadian Pacific rail cars jumped the tracks near White River, Ontario. Two of the cars leaked about 400 barrels -- almost 17,000 gallons -- of oil, The Globe and Mail in Toronto reported.
Canadian Pacific was also involved in a stateside spill in March. Fourteen cars on a mile-long, 94-car train derailed in western Minnesota, about 150 miles northwest of Minneapolis, spilling about 30,000 gallons of crude, Reuters reported.
A rail car can carry roughly 700 barrels of oil, with 42 gallons per barrel.
Popular Quebec performer missing
The runaway train rumbled toward Lac-Megantic while patrons at the Musi-Cafe were enjoying a summer night of live music. Some were sitting on the pub's front porch.
The Musi-Cafe is no longer standing, one of an estimated 40 buildings leveled in the crash and explosions. Some of its patrons have been counted among the 13 confirmed dead.
"We know that there will be many more," said police Lt. Michel Brunet.
Authorities believe some of those still missing were in the pub at the time of the accident. Quebecois musician Guy Bolduc had been performing there.
The pub's Facebook page is filling up with messages of condolence, as has a page created for the victims of the disaster. Bolduc's fans are searching for him on social media.
"All of his fans, all over Quebec, but also his fellow singers (of whom I am one) hope to see him again alive!!! Come on my GuyBol, come out of your hiding place," one member wrote.
"Hot zones" lingering more than two days after the train derailment hampered authorities' efforts to search for missing people.
Forensic specialists have asked victims' families for hair samples, clothing, anything to help identify their loved ones.
In a town of just 6,000 residents, most everyone is affected by the deaths and destruction.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper has described the scene as a "war zone."