Lynchburg, Virginia: Train Derailment, Crash, Explosion, and Fire in VA City (Photos, Video)

April 30, 2014 2:21 pm Last Updated: June 24, 2015 8:06 pm

A CSX train reportedly derailed and crashed in downtown Lynchburg, Virginia, on Wednesday.

Reports came in after 2 p.m. ET.

“Right now, we’re hearing no reports of any injuries, but we do know that crews are evacuating some people nearby,” wrote ABC-13 on Twitter.

“Wow guys. The train derailed right outside my building. Pray that no one is hurt. #lynchburg,” said another person on Instagram.

The city on its website and Twitter posted that firefighters on the scene made the decision to let the fire burn out and urged motorists and pedestrians to avoid the area. It tweeted that the tanker cars were carrying crude oil and that three or four of them were breached. The city said 13 or 14 tanker cars were involved in the derailment.

Photos and video show several black tanker cars derailed and extensive flames and smoke.

The city said there was no impact on the drinking water for its 77,000 residents due to spillage into the James River. However, officials for the city of Richmond said its public utilities department is drawing from an old canal system instead of the James River as a precaution.

The train with about 15 cars was traveling from Chicago to Virginia when it derailed, CSX said in a statement. It did not say where the train was headed. The railroad operator said it is “responding fully, with emergency response personnel, safety and environmental experts, community support teams and other resources.”

Early, erroneous reports said the derailment was in Lynchburg, Conn., but it was actually in Lynchburg, Virginia.

Very thick, black smoke was seen across the city. The derailment is close to Amazement Square and the Depot Grille.    

Employees at Griffin Pipe were told to shelter in place by local officials, WSET reported.

“Lynchburg Police and Fire Department personnel are on the scene of a train derailment in downtown Lynchburg (near Depot Grille). There are extensive flames and smoke. Both motorists and pedestrians are cautioned to avoid the area until further notice,” reads a press release from the city.

“We are asking that everyone please stay out of the downtown area of Lynchburg VA due to train derailment,” the Lynchburg Government tweeted. “We are asking that everyone avoid the downtown area of Lynchburg, VA until further notice.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.