Massive fire after Lynchburg, Va., train derailment

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Massive Fire After Lynchburg, Va., Train Derailment

A massive fire and plumes of black smoke over downtown Lynchburg, Virginia, as a freight train carrying thousands of gallons of crude oil jumped the tracks Wednesday.
Massive fire after Lynchburg, Va., train derailment
Survey crews in boats look over tanker cars as workers remove damaged tanker cars along the tracks where several CSX tanker cars carrying crude oil derailed and caught fire along the James River near downtown Lynchburg, Va., Thursday, May 1, 2014. Virginia state officials were still trying Thursday to determine the environmental impact of the train derailment. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
Workers remove damaged tanker cars along the tracks where several CSX tanker cars carrying crude oil derailed and caught fire along the James River near downtown Lynchburg, Va., Thursday, May 1, 2014. Department of Environmental Quality spokesman Bill Hayden said state workers smelled oil downstream from the derailment site during a night-time survey. CSX crews and heavy equipment contractors worked to clear more than a dozen derailed train cars, some carrying crude oil. Two cranes were lifting derailed cars and moving them to a new track. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
Workers remove damaged tanker cars along the tracks where several CSX tanker cars carrying crude oil derailed and caught fire along the James River near downtown Lynchburg, Va., Thursday, May 1, 2014. Department of Environmental Quality spokesman Bill Hayden said state workers smelled oil downstream from the derailment site during a night-time survey. CSX crews and heavy equipment contractors worked to clear more than a dozen derailed train cars, some carrying crude oil. Two cranes were lifting derailed cars and moving them to a new track. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
Firefighters and rescue workers work along the tracks where several CSX tanker cars carrying crude oil derailed and caught fire along the James River near downtown in Lynchburg, Va.., Wednesday, April 30, 2014. Police said that 13 or 14 tanker cars were involved in the derailment.(AP Photo/Steve Helber)
In this image made available by the City of Lynchburg, shows several CSX tanker cars carrying crude oil in flames after derailing in downtown Lynchburg, Va., Wednesday, April 30, 2014. (AP Photo/City of Lynchburg, LuAnn Hunt)
Firefighters and rescue workers work along the tracks where several CSX tanker cars carrying crude oil derailed and caught fire along the James River near downtown in Lynchburg, Va., Wednesday, April 30, 2014. Police said more than a dozen tanker cars were involved in the derailment.(AP Photo/Steve Helber)
Workers remove damaged tanker cars along the tracks where several CSX tanker cars carrying crude oil derailed and caught fire along the James River near downtown Lynchburg, Va., Thursday, May 1, 2014. State workers smelled oil downstream from the derailment site during a night-time survey. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
Firefighters and rescue workers work along the tracks where several CSX tanker cars carrying crude oil derailed and caught fire along the James River near downtown in Lynchburg, Va.., Wednesday, April 30, 2014. Police said that 13 or 14 tanker cars were involved in the derailment.(AP Photo/Steve Helber)
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NBC reports,"Several buildings were evacuated after the train burst into flames in downtown Lynchburg."

WDBJ says, "You just saw it going sideways on two wheels, and then one went down, and then the train just kept coming, and just a dog pile on top of that."

According to a city spokeswoman, between 12 and 14 cars jumped the tracks in total - dumping around 50,000 gallons of oil. Some of those cars ended up in the nearby James River.

One witness told Lynchburg's WSET, "You could actually hear the water boiling under whatever the fuel source was. Sounded like a huge, unbelievably large, deep fryer."

As ABC reports, flames from the fire reached as high 80 feet above the ground, with smoke visible from around the city.

Firefighters reportedly let the fire burn out on its own, and some officials are now considering the city lucky, as thus far there have been no reports of injuries.

Quoted by The Washington Post, Lynchburg's deputy city manager said, "We are very fortunate that the cars that derailed derailed toward the river, instead of toward the city." She added that no buildings caught fire due to the wreck.

WAVY reports officials are now working to determine the environmental impact of the wreck and subsequent oil spill. The cause of the derailment is currently unknown.
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