Derailed oil train burns for second day in W.Va.

USA Today | February 17, 2015 | Column by Michael Winter

Thick, black smoke rose for a second day Tuesday from a 109-car train hauling North Dakota crude oil that derailed Monday along a snowy West Virginia river.

As the last of the fires burned themselves out more than a day after 26 cars left the tracks near Mount Carbon, crews began hauling away the blacked hulls of tankers Tuesday evening. The two-engine CSX train was carrying about 3 million gallons of Bakken shale oil bound for a refinery in Yorktown, Va.

The derailment ignited 20 tank cars, burned down a house and prompted water-treatment plants to shut down after initial reports that at least one tanker had landed in the Kanawha River south of Charleston. But the state Department of Environmental Protection said Tuesday that none of the tank cars entered the water, and river samples detected no traces of oil.

Crude did reportedly leak from several cars into a nearby creek.

The owner of the destroyed home was treated for smoke inhalation, but no other injuries were reported.

The cause of the accident is not yet known. CSX said the section of track where the tankers derailed was last inspected Friday.

The Federal Railroad Administration's acting administrator, Sarah Feinberg, and chief safety officer, Robert Lauby, will survey the site, U.S. Department of Transportation spokeswoman Suzanne Emmerling told The Charleston Gazette.

Investigators from the FRA and the Pipeline Hazardous Materials Safety Administration were at the scene already, Emmerling said.

Two water-treatment plants downstream closed intakes and halted operations as a precaution, and residents were urged to conserve water. One of the plants resumed normal operations Tuesday.

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin said residents would need to boil their water the next couple of days as water service is restored. The inferno burned through power lines, and utility crews were working to reestablish power to several hundred customers by night.

About, 2,400 residents around Adena Village were evacuated Monday as a precaution, Fayette County deputies told WCHS-TV. Emergency shelters were set up at a local school and recreation center.

Tomblin said at a news conference Tuesday afternoon that more than 100 people were still not able to return to their homes and were being put up in hotels.

Residents said they heard several explosions and saw flames nearly 300 feet tall. CSX said "at least one rail car appears to have ruptured and caught fire."

One evacuation shelter was set up. CSX said it was "working with the Red Cross and other relief organizations to address residents' needs, taking into account winter storm conditions."

Todd Wagner, his wife and their 10-month-old daughter fled their home in Boomer Bottom.

"We've been in a rush," he told the Gazette. "We had to grab a few things quickly."

He said they "heard a big bang," noting that they sometimes hear similar noises from a nearby factory.

In April 2014, another Virginia-bound train carrying North Dakota shale oil derailed in Lynchburg, Va.

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Derailed oil train burns for second day in W.Va.
PAUSE, People of Albany United for Safe Energy
PAUSE is a grassroots group of individuals who have come together to promote safe, sustainable energy and fight for environmental justice. We engage the greater public to stop the fossil fuel industry’s assault on the people of Albany and our environment.