Continuous coverage with our news partner found here: ABC 13
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.