CSX crude oil train derails, catches fire in downtown Lynchburg

By Kyle Johnson,

A CSX Corp train carrying crude oil on Wednesday derailed in a downtown Virginia city and caught fire, requiring a temporary evacuation.

The derailment also led to oil spilling into the James River in the town of Lynchburg. The train was heading from Virginia to Chicago when 15 cars slipped off the tracks and three cars went up in flames, reports Reuters.

The downtown area required an evacuation of about 350 people for several hours, but eventually they were allowed to return and no injuries have been reported. This is the second CSX train accident in 2014.

"There was black, black, black smoke and huge billows of flames," said Kathy Bedsworth, who owns the Carriage House Inn. "The flames were taller than the buildings." She estimated the flames reached as high as 60 feet into the air.

A witness, Travis Uhle, said he was in the Depot Grille when he heard the crash. "We noticed that the train sounded a lot louder than usual. The whole floor shook."

According to The News & Advance, the cause of the derailment is still being investigated. Crews are waiting on the National Transportation Safety Board to arrive so they can begin the cleanup.

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