About 12 to 14 CSX train cars derailed Wednesday. Three were leaking crude oil. (Source: Donn Hullings)
Flames and black smoke were seen at a train derailment in downtown Lynchburg.
LYNCHBURG, VA -
9:08 UPDATE: Brie Jackson reports the NTSB is headed to the scene. The train cars cannot be moved until NTSB gets there. The priority is to move the trains blocking Concorde Turnpike because a lot of traffic goes through that area. Three cars went into the water. One car filled with crude oil was completely empty, another car was about 1/3 empty and the third car was full.
It's estimated that each car was caring about 30,000 gallons of crude oil. As of right now, there is no way to determine how much of that oil burned off and how much actually went to the river
First responders are on the scene of a train derailment near Ninth Street in downtown Lynchburg on Wednesday afternoon. Flames and black smoke were seen billowing into the sky. The fire is currently contained, but not extinguished.
About 12 to 14 cars of a CSX train derailed at about 2:30 p.m. ET. Three are breached and leaking crude oil, according to Joanne Martin with the City of Lynchburg, some of which has leaked into the James River. The city tweeted there is no impact on the city's drinking water.
"It twisted several other cars... And immediately after that there was an explosion about six cars back is what I counted when I went out and took the pictures a huge fireball shot up into the sky that you will see in the pictures that was at like," said Donn Hullings, who works two blocks from where the train derailed.
Hullings' office is on the ninth floor, and he saw the train derail, saying that tanker trains frequently pass through.
"It was not moving at any significant speed or anything like that. I watched and it looked like one car started to tilt and it rolled, it actually rolled, and you could see it laying on its side toward the James River," Hullings said.
The City of Lynchburg has stated on their Twitter feed that the fire department "has assessed the situation and is allowing the fire to burn out."
Martin said 300 people have been evacuated from nearby buildings, but no injuries have been reported at this time. For those who evacuated and left their cars behind, check in with police and they will get you to your vehicle.
Main Street to Jefferson Street is closed, as well as Fifth Street to Washington Street. The city has asked motorists and pedestrians to avoid the area.
A portion of the train is blocking the Griffin Pipe Foundry, preventing workers from leaving. CSX officials are working to remove debris so that workers can leave the area.
Gov. Terry McAuliffe issued a statement saying state agencies, including the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, is working with local officials. The governor has also spoken with Mayor Michael Gillette and offered resources to help with the situation.
CSX issued a statement saying they will work with the emergency personnel and environmental officials.
"We are committed to fully supporting the emergency responders and other agencies, meeting the needs of the community and protecting the environment," CSX said in the statement.
Founded in 1986 and headquartered in Jacksonville, FL. CSX has locations in 22 states and two provinces in Canada. CSX Transportation owns 21,000 miles of railroad track and access to 70 ports on the East Coast.? Previous incidents involving CSX trains include the July 18, 2011 Howard Street Tunnel incident in Baltimore, when a CSX freight train carrying hazardous cargo derailed and caused a fire that burned for several days.
On May 15, 2001, an unmanned CSX freight train, CSX 8888, traveled for two hours at 51 mph in Toledo, OH, before it was stopped by a second train's railroad crew. The incident was the inspiration of the 2011 film Unstoppable, starring Denzel Washington.
WSLS has crew on the way to the scene to gather information. Please check back as more information becomes available. We will also update the WSLS 10 Facebook page and Twitter feed @wsls. Copyright 2014 WSLS. All rights reserved.