CONTINUING COVERAGE: At Least 50,000 Gallons of Crude Oil Missing After Train Derailment
By Kelly Gray
UPDATE: 8:09 p.m.Lynchburg, VA - Officials tell ABC 13 at least 50,000 gallons of crude oil is missing after the train derailment and fire in Lynchburg Wednesday afternoon.Some of the crude oil likely burned in the fire, officials say. It is unknown exactly how much oil leaked into the James.While Lynchburg's water supply will not be affected by the derailment, communities down stream are already taking precautions.Residents are now allowed to return to their homes in the evacuated area of Commerce and Jefferson Streets. Anyone who left their vehicle on Jefferson Street, at Depot Grille or in the general evacuation area is asked to return to the area and retrieve their vehicle as soon as possible. They must first check in with the Lynchburg Police Officer on duty at Ninth and Commerce Streets. Effective now, Wednesday, April 30 and continuing for an unknown duration, the RiverWalk (a section of the James River Heritage Trail) will be closed between Jefferson Street and Amherst County including Jefferson Street, and Percival's Island Natural Area and parking lot. Trail users can access the Blackwater Creek Bikeway at any point above the Point of Honor Trailhead including the Ed Page Entrance, Hollins Mill Park, and the Kemper Station Trailhead. The public is asked to obey all signage and use caution while in the vicinity of the accident area. For additional information, contact the Parks & Recreation Department at 434-455-5876. ---------------Lynchburg, Va - A train has derailed in downtown Lynchburg. It happened around 1:45 Wednesday afternoon, near Amazement Square and the Depot Grille.Between 12 and 14 CSX tankers carrying crude oil were involved in the train derailment, according to city officials. A witness on the scene says he saw the rail under the train give way. That is, the dirt and stone beneath the train gave way and according to that witness, the train then toppled over.Between three and six cars caught fire and the smoke could be seen throughout much of Lynchburg. Witnesses report seeing flames 80 feet high. Witnesses also reported seeing a very thick, black smoke.According to officials, three railway cars fell into the river and the crude oil that was in the tankers is spilling into the river.People in the general area have been evacuated and both motorists and pedestrians are being cautioned to avoid the area until further notice.There have been no reported injuries.CSX officials are working to remove the portion of the train that is blocking workers from leaving Griffin Pipe Foundry located in the lower basin.The city of Lynchburg is asking that those who had to abandon their vehicles earlier to evacuate to please return and move the vehicles from the area. Owners of those vehicles are asked to check in with police on 9th and commerce.Adam Thiel, Deputy Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security is now in Lynchburg monitoring the derailment situation.According to Brian Coy in the Governor's Office, HazMat officers have been dispatched to the scene to support local response. The Department of Emergency Management also has personnel on the scene.VA DEQ will be monitoring the substances in the river.The following roads have been closed in Madison Heights: Route 163, 210, Rocky Hill Road, as Lynch's Ferry Road.Per the city of Lynchburg, effective immediately and continuing for an unknown duration, the RiverWalk (a section of the James River Heritage Trail) will be closed between Jefferson Street and Amherst County including Jefferson Street, and Percival's Island Natural Area and parking lot. Trail users can access the Blackwater Creek Bikeway at any point above the Point of Honor Trailhead including the Ed Page Entrance, Hollins Mill Park, and the Kemper Station Trailhead. The cause of the derailment has not been determined at this time.
WSET ABC 13 covers news, sports and weather in the Heart of Virginia: Lynchburg, Danville and Roanoke and nearby communities including Amherst, Lexington, Cave Springs, Blacksburg, Martinsville, Farmville, North Shore, Glasgow, Altavista, Gretna, Chatham, Blairs, Bassett, Rocky Mt, Penhook, Moneta and Buena Vista