UPDATE 4-CSX train hauling North Dakota oil derails, cars ablaze in W. Virginia

Mon Feb 16, 2015 6:20pm EST
 
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(Recasts, adds quotes, governor's declaratin, details on accident)

By Kara Van Pelt

BECKLEY, W.Va. Feb 16 (Reuters) - A CSX Corp train hauling North Dakota crude derailed in West Virginia on Monday, setting a number of cars ablaze, destroying a house and forcing the evacuation of two towns in the second significant oil-train incident in three days.

One or two of the cars plunged into the Kanawha River, and "a couple are burning," said Robert Jelacic, night shift manager of the West Virginia Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. There were no injuries or deaths, he said.

CSX said the train was hauling 109 cars from North Dakota to the coastal town of Yorktown, Virginia, where midstream firm Plains All American Pipelines runs an oil depot. It said one person was being treated for potential fume inhalation.

West Virginia State Police First Sergeant Greg Duckworth, who was at the crash site, told Reuters that nine or 10 of the cars had exploded at intervals of about every half hour. A similar sequence has occurred in a handful of other derailments over the past year and a half, with the fire from one tank heating up gases in the next nearest car, causing it to ignite.

"It's a real mess down here," Duckworth said. He said all but 14 of the cars on the train had been pulled out of harm's way.

A 1-mile-wide area around the incident was being evacuated after a house caught fire because of the accident, Lawrence Messina, spokesman for the West Virginia Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety, told Reuters.

Heavy snow and frigid temperatures were hindering efforts to deal with the incident, Jelacic said.   Continued...