Black Smoke, Flames Spew From Train Derailment
Fiery derailment in Virginia latest crude by rail disaster to strike
A train carrying crude oil derailed in Lynchburg, Virginia Wednesday afternoon, city officials said, the latest in a series of fiery accidents involving the transportation of the dirty fuel by rail.
The City of Lynchburg reported "extensive flames and smoke" at the downtown scene involving as many as 14 CSX tanker cars.
The train was traveling from Chicago to Virginia, according to CSX, when the derailment occurred at approximately 2:30 PM.
The immediate area was evacuated, and Reuters reports that some of the cars spilled oil into the James River, which flows through town. A photo posted by local ABC affiliate WSET shows three of the tanker cars in the river, spilling as much as 50,000 gallons of oil.
Though it relies on the river for its drinking source, the city issued an update via Twitter that the city's drinking water was not impacted.
Eyewitness Mason Basten told the Roanoke Times he saw "a big ball of fire."
“The whole riverbank and the whole riverbed was on fire basically from the derailment just to about 100 yards before Blackwater Trail,” he added, saying the substance on top of the river water "sounded like a super-size deep fryer just going at it."
No injuries have been reported at this time.
Twitter users have been quick to post images of the scene:
— ABC13News (@ABC13News) April 30, 2014
— Mark Day (@1310NewsDay) April 30, 2014
— Mike Minyard (@MikeMinyard) April 30, 2014
— Werner Vermaak (@LocumGuy) April 30, 2014
We are asking that everyone avoid the downtown area of Lynchburg, VA until further notice. pic.twitter.com/Wv6pmOykhI
— City of Lynchburg (@lynchburggov) April 30, 2014
One displeased Riverkeeper pic.twitter.com/8Kb3TiW1Io
— James Riverkeeper (@UpperJamesRK) May 1, 2014