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NTSB Gathering Information on CSX Crude Oil Train Derailment in West Virginia

Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board’s office of Railroad, Pipeline, and Hazardous Materials are in communication with the Federal Railroad Administration and CSX emergency response crews since the derailment that occurred in West Virginia yesterday and will continue to monitor the situation. The FRA and CSX are providing NTSB investigators with detailed damage reports and photographs of the derailed tank cars. The investigators will compare the data with tank car design specifications and similar derailments including Casselton, North Dakota, on December 30, 2013, and Lynchburg, Virginia, on April 30, 2014.

On February 16, 2015 at 1:30 PM EST, approximately 28 tank cars in a 109-tank car CSX crude oil unit train derailed near Mt. Carbon, West Virginia, 35 miles southeast of Charleston, West Virginia. Some of the derailed tank cars released an unknown amount of crude oil onto the ground, which immediately ignited. Some of the crude oil likely entered the river. Downstream water treatment intakes on the Kanawha River were closed as a precaution. A one half mile evacuation zone was established around the derailment. As of Tuesday morning, emergency crews are allowing the fire to burn itself out. At least one injury is reported. The cause of the derailment is unknown at this time.
“This accident is another reminder of the need to improve the safety of transporting hazardous materials by rail,” said NTSB Acting Chairman Christopher A. Hart. “That is why this issue is included on our Most Wanted List. If we identify any new safety concerns as a result of this derailment, the Board will act expeditiously to issue new safety recommendations.”

Additional information on rail tank car safety and the Most Wanted List can be found at: http://www.ntsb.gov/safety/mwl/Pages/mwl5_2015.aspx

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