Almost to a person, residents are confident the town can survive this ordeal. Says Cloutier: "Now it's time to start looking to rebuild ... building something new from the ashes like a phoenix."
Thank God for little things, people say. Had the disaster occurred during the daytime, more people would have been killed. The offices of the doctors, psychologists and lawyers were empty in the middle of the night.
But for some, optimism is checked by cynicism.
Hal Crowley wants answers, and he isn't getting them from the powers-that-be. What happened out there and why, he asks, sitting in an apartment without electric power. And when are things getting back to normal?
The nostalgia of buying his first record downtown as a child is joined now by a disturbing memory: Hearing his niece on the phone, screaming ""fire fire fire," urging him to rush home.
Richard LeFebvre, who held up the "killer train" sign at the center for evacuees, said he went there to see Burkhardt and wrote the sign in English so the American executive could understand it.
The solution to the problem is simple, he said. Don't move oil through a town. It's dangerous.
"If they need to transport oil, you go another way," he said. "It's not war. We don't want explosives near a house."
Daniel Poulin, the newspaper editor who counts friends among the missing, feels grateful for some things -- and angry about others.
The train crashed near his home, sparking an orange inferno. He and his wife scrambled out with their prized possessions: the dog and cat. Their house was spared.
But he feels a particular ire for Burkhardt. Many people in the region think the rail executive should have been on the scene immediately and believe he hasn't taken the proper blame for the accident.
Burkhardt told CNN that other people from his company responded immediately and that he was more useful in his Chicago office. He said the investigation is continuing, but the company has suspended the train engineer.
Poulin says Burkhardt was rude and insensitive. He dislikes the impatient way he responded to reporters' questions Wednesday. Did it occur to him that he was speaking English to a largely French-speaking press corps?
"We will rebuild, that's for sure," Poulin says. "We won't forget about it. We'll have enough time to hate Mr. What's-His-Name from Chicago."