Train derails in Virginia, Oil tankers catch fire before crashing into river

Virginia state officials were still trying on Thursday to determine the environmental impact of a train derailment that plunged oil-carrying tanker cars into the James River in downtown Lynchburg. Department of Environmental Quality spokesman Bill Hayden said on Thursday morning that state workers smelled oil downstream from the derailment site during a night-time survey. He said daylight would offer state officials are better look at what the potential environmental damage is from Wednesday’s derailment. CSX crews and heavy equipment contractors were at the scene on Thursday trying to quickly clean up and clear what city officials described as more than a dozen derailed train cars, some carrying crude oil. Two cranes were lifting either end of derailed cars and moving them to a new track. A few train cars caught fire Wednesday, with three tanker cars ending up in the water and leaking some of their contents. It was the latest in a string of crashes involving oil trains that has safety experts pushing for better oversight. Nearby buildings were evacuated for a time, but officials said there were no injuries. Online photos and videos showed large flames and thick, black smoke right after the crash. ‘You could feel the heat like you were standing by a campfire,’ said Nicole Gibs, a waitress who was working at a restaurant close to where the derailment occurred . ‘It was hot.’ Lynchburg city manager Kimball Payne said about 50,000 gallons of oil were missing from the tankers, but fire officials were unsure how much had burned up and how much had spilled into the water.
Next Story
Share it