Ashton Marra Published

Train Derails in Fayette County, Leaks Crude Oil Into Kanawha River


Governor Earl Ray Tomblin has placed Fayette and Kanawha counties under a state of emergency following a train derailment Monday afternoon in western Fayette County.

The accident, involving a 109-car CSX  train traveling from North Dakota to Yorktown, Va., occurred along Route 61, causing a fire in the small community of Armstrong Creek.

Those in the area are being asked to conserve water while intakes are shut down as a result of crude oil from the tankers having leaked into the Kanawha River. 

Residents within a half-mile radius of the derailment and fire are being evacuated by State Police. Fires caused by the derailment have taken out main power lines and created the need for longer term housing, according to a late Monday night release from the Fayette County Office of Emergency Management. 

State Police Sgt. Bennett with the Beckley detachment confirmed one of his officers arrived on scene around 1:30 Monday afternoon to at least one CSX crude oil car off the track. 
In a news release, CSX said on person was being treated for potential inhalation. They say no other injuries have been reported and the cause of the accident is under investigation. 

Lawrence Messina of the state Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety said responders at the scene said the tanker is leaked crude oil into the river.
Messina said at least one tanker car went into the river. He also said the derailment sparked a house fire.

The Charleston Gazette reports Kanawha County Manager Jennifer Sayre said at least 14 tank cars were reported to be on fire.  

In a press release issued Monday afternoon, the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources says water intakes in Montgomery and Cedar Grove have been closed. The DHHR urges residents to conserve water until those intakes, which are part of the West Virginia American Water system, are reopened.

West Virginia American Water says the intake was shut down at approximately 2:30 p.m.
Shelters have been set up for those in the affected area and can be found here.