West Virginia Train Derailment Leads To State Of Emergency

Train Derailment

A train derailment on Monday in West Virginia led to several explosions and a large fire as the CSX-owned train leaks crude oil into the Kanawha River. Governor Earl Ray Tomblin declared a state of emergency at 6:00 pm local time.

Three hours after the state of emergency was declared, the fire continued to burn and 1,000 people were evacuated. At least one home in Fayette County caught fire and was destroyed completely.

[quote text_size=”small” author=”– Lawrence Messina” author_title=”West Virginia Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety”]

Unfortunately the severity of the fire is such that it’s been difficult to assess the situation in sufficient detail. We still do believe that there is oil in the water from at least one leaking tanker.


The train derailment happened at 1:20 pm as a 109-car train carrying Bakken crude oil traveled from North Dakota to Yorktown, Virginia. Up to 15 train cars derailed, and crude oil is leaking into the Kanawha River from at least one of the rail cars, according to the Los Angeles Times.

West Virginia American Water also shut down its Montgomery treatment plant, as the facility draws water from an area affected by the accident. About 2,000 customers around Montgomery will lose water service, and the plant will not be reopened until the water is deemed safe.

One person was injured, but no deaths were reported in the accident, according to NBC News.

CSX is working with first responders, including the Red Cross, to oversee evacuations, and the U.S. Coast Guard is on scene with booms to control the oil spill.

The Obama administration is already revising safety standards following several train derailments that have involved oil, including a 2013 accident in Quebec that left 47 people dead and a number of non-fatal explosions in several states, Bloomberg reported.

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