Firefighters are battling a major blaze after a train carrying crude oil was derailed by the James River in Lynchburg, Virginia, at about 2 pm local time on Wednesday 30 April 2014. The train was traveling from Chicago to Virginia when the incident occurred, with 12-14 oil cars from the 15 car train leaving the track and about four being breached. The oil was ignited shortly after, prompting local authorities to evacuate the immediate vicinity. There are no reports of any casualties, although oil has been seen in the river, from which the town draws its water supply, and it is unclear how extensive the clean-up operation will need to be.
Oil burning on the James River in Lynchburg, Virginia, after the 30 April 2014 train derailment. ABC.
Trains carrying crude oil have become an increasingly important part of the distribution system in North America as both production of and demand for oil has exceeded the capacity of the pipeline network. There have been a number of incidents involving derailments and oil spills, and concerns about the safety of the trains following an incident in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, when a 72 car oil train derailed and exploded, killing 47 people.
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