A massive fire and plumes of black smoke over downtown Lynchburg, Virginia, as a freight train carrying thousands of gallons of crude oil jumped the tracks Wednesday.
"Several buildings were evacuated after the train burst into flames in downtown Lynchburg." (Via NBC)
"You just saw it going sideways on two wheels, and then one went down, and then the train just kept coming, and just a dog pile on top of that." (Via WDBJ)
According to a city spokeswoman, between 12 and 14 cars jumped the tracks in total — dumping around 50,000 gallons of oil. Some of those cars ended up in the nearby James River. (Via WEWS)
One witness told Lynchburg's WSET, "You could actually hear the water boiling under whatever the fuel source was. Sounded like a huge, unbelievably large, deep fryer."
As ABC reports, flames from the fire reached as high 80 feet above the ground, with smoke visible from around the city.
Firefighters reportedly let the fire burn out on its own, and some officials are now considering the city lucky, as thus far there have been no reports of injuries.
Quoted by The Washington Post, Lynchburg's deputy city manager said, "We are very fortunate that the cars that derailed derailed toward the river, instead of toward the city." She added that no buildings caught fire due to the wreck.
Officials are now working to determine the environmental impact of the wreck and subsequent oil spill. The cause of the derailment is currently unknown. (Via WAVY)