On February 16, 2015, 27 cars in a 109-car (two locomotives and 107 tanker cars), CSX oil-transport train derailed along the Kanawha River near Mount Carbon, West Virginia. The train was carrying oil from the Bakken shale area of North Dakota to Yorktown, Va. According to a Feb. 18, news release from the U.S. Coast Guard, 27 cars derailed, 19 cars were involved in fires, and no cars entered the Kanawha (although early news reports indicated that one tanker car had fallen into the river). Much of the oil ignited immediately (and was still burning as of Feb. 18), but some was suspected of reaching the ground or a nearby tributary to the Kanawha. Accordingly, responders placed containment booms and began monitoring along the Kanawha and the tributary.
The Coast Guard’s February 18 news release reported that a “unified command” had been established to respond to the incident, consisting of the Coast Guard, the U.S. Department of Transportation, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, CSX, the West Virginia departments of Environmental Protection and Military Affairs & Public Safety, the National Guard, and local agencies.
Ongoing Sources of Information
U.S. Coast Guard News Releases, online at http://www.uscgnews.com/go/doctype/4007/117415/News-Releases
CSX Corporation News Releases, online at http://www.csx.com/index.cfm/media/press-releases/
West Virginia Governor’s Office news releases, online at http://www.governor.wv.gov/media/pressreleases/Pages/default.aspx
National Transportation Safety Board “Investigations” Web page, https://www.ntsb.gov/investigations/index.html (no information had been posted on this incident as of 2/19/15, but this will be the place to find that information if and when NTSB begins an investigation).
News accounts and news releases since 2/16/15
(listed from most recent to oldest)
Train wreck raises specter of Richmond evacuations, Style Weekly [Richmond, Va.], 2/17/15.
Unified Command established for West Virginia Train Derailment; Response continues, U.S. Coast Guard News Release, 2/18/15
NTSB Gathering Information on CSX Crude Oil Train Derailment in West Virginia, National Transportation Safety Board News Release, 2/17/15
Spilled Oil Keeps Flames Burning After a Train Derailment in West Virginia, New York Times, 2/17/15
Once again, a crude oil train derails, burns on its way to Yorktown terminal, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 2/17/15
West Virginia train derailment sends oil tanker into river, Associated Press, as published by Washington Post, 2/16/15
Crude oil train derails in Fayette County, WV, Charleston [West Va.] Daily Mail, 2/16/15.