Tag Archives: Armstrong Creek

NPR: What we know three days after the Fayette Co. oil train derailment

Repost from WMKY FM, Morehead, KYNational Public Radio

What We Know Three Days After the Fayette Co. Oil Train Derailment

By Dave Mistich, Thu February 19, 2015 2:25 pm
Credit U.S. Coast Guard photo by Chief Petty Officer Angie Vallier

Investigators from the Federal Railroad Administration and the Pipeline Hazardous Materials Safety Administration are on the scene of Monday’s oil train derailment near Mount Carbon, W.Va. The incident sparked massive fireballs stretching hundreds of feet in the air. One home was destroyed in the incident and the homeowner was treated for smoke inhalation and then released.

1. Some initial reports from the scene turned out to be incorrect.

Department of Military Affairs and Public safety spokesman Lawrence Messina said Monday that one and possibly more cars fell into the Kanawha River.

As a result, West Virginia American Water shut down intakes at their Montgomery and Cedar Grove. Those intakes were reopened after no evidence of crude oil was detected in the river. 

Messina and other officials, including the state Department of Environmental Protection, later said no tanker cars fell into the river and no evidence of oil could be detected.

2. Federal Authorities and CSX say the train was not speeding.

The Federal Railroad Administration said Thursday that the CSX-owned train that derailed was traveling at 33 mph. They said the speed limit in the area where the incident occurred was 50 mph.

3. Fires continue to burn and containment is the focus of the response.

Kelley Gillenwater of the DEP said at least one small fire continued to burn Thursday morning.

Environmental protective and monitoring measures on land, air, the Kanawha River and Armstrong Creek. Gillenwater said response crews vacuumed about 5,000 gallons of an oil-water mixture on Wednesday. CSX contractors, overseen by the U.S. Coast Guard and DEP, were able to deploy about 500 feet of containment boom as a precautionary measure to limit potential impact on the environment.

Response teams are beginning to remove derailed cars that have not been involved in the fires. says they will begin transferring oil from the damaged cars to other tanks for removal from the site when it is safe to do so.

4. Quick Facts: Numbers on the Derailment

  • The train consisted of two locomotives and 109 rail cars (107 tank cars and two buffer cars).
  • 27 cars derailed and 19 were involved in fires.
  • The train was carrying a total of 3 million gallons of Bakken crude oil, according to the Associated Press.
  • Each of the tankers contained 29,500 gallons of oil.

CSX apologizes for derailment as fire still burns

Repost from Metro News, Charleston, WV

CSX apologizes for derailment as fire still burns

By Shauna Johnson, February 17, 2015 at 5:58PM
U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin at the train derailment site on Tuesday.

FAYETTE COUNTY, W.Va. – A CSX spokesperson offered an apology Tuesday as fire continued to burn at the site of a train derailment that forced 1,000 people to evacuate.

“I would like to apologize for the significant disruption in the lives of a lot of people in those communities there, and let me pledge that we’re working to get everything back in order as quickly as we can,” Gary Sease told MetroNews “Talkline.”

Sease and Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin gave addressed Monday’s accident where 26 tanker cars that were part of a 109-car train hauling Bakken crude oil derailed near Mount Carbon and Deepwater. At times, 19 of those cars were on fire.

Flames shoot skyward after the CSX train derailed near Mount Carbon, W.Va. on Monday.

Claiming none of those burning cars made it into the Kanawha River or its Armstrong Creek tributary, Sease said officials determined “to let the fire burn out.”

Seven of the cars that derailed did not rupture and were being uprighted, while 79 other cars that stayed on the tracks had been pulled away from the derailment scene by Tuesday. Sease estimated each of the cars contained 29,500 gallons of oil.

Sease could not provide an estimate on how much crude oil may have spilled from the ruptured tanker cars and could not confirm the speed of the train at the time of the derailment.

No one was seriously injured, though one home was destroyed. Evacuated residents were not being allowed back into their homes 24 hours later and officials gave no indications of how long the evacuation would last.

State officials said 85 residents were in two emergency shelters on Monday night.

“We have arranged a number of hotel rooms,” Sease said. “We are trying to move people from shelters to the motel rooms which are more comfortable so they can stay there until the all-clear is sounded and they can get back to their homes.”

About 700 homes and businesses in Fayette County did not have power Tuesday morning because of damage blamed on the derailment and the subsequent explosion and fires that sent flames hundreds of feet into the air.

“It’s not extensive damage (to the power system), but the conditions are a little different,” said Phil Moye, spokesperson for Appalachian Power.

Moye said crews equipped with air monitors entered the derailment site to make power repairs Tuesday morning. He estimated power could be restored as soon as Tuesday afternoon.

Laura Jordan, spokesperson for West Virginia American Water Company, said the Montgomery Water Treatment Plant resumed operations at shortly after 1 p.m. Tuesday, though it could take as along as two days to restore service throughout the system.

The intake for the facility was closed as a precaution Monday after initial derailment reports indicated a car and its oil tumbled into the Kanawha River.

“There were no rail cars that actually made it into the river,” Jordan said, referencing information CSX provided. “In fact, the (place) where the accident occurred was right at the mouth of Armstrong Creek, which is at the mouth of the Kanawha River, but not in the Kanawha River itself.”

Jordan said three water tests were taken from Kanawha River samples and none showed crude oil in the water at the intake for the Montgomery treatment plant.

Officials with the U.S. Department of Transportation said the Federal Railroad Administration would be visiting the scene.

The CSX train was en route from North Dakota to Yorktown, Va. Last April, 17 tanker cars derailed on the same line in Lynchburg, Va., with several of the cars spilling into the James River.

A State of Emergency was still in effect for both Kanawha County and Fayette County on Tuesday.

Crews and equipment lined up along state Route 61 in Montgomery Tuesday ready to begin derailment cleanup once they get the okay.