Oil Train Blast ‘Like Atomic Bomb Went Off’

A house has been destroyed and two towns evacuated after a train carrying 100 tankers of crude oil derailed, causing a massive explosion.

Oil Train Blast

The train derailed during a snowstorm in southern West Virginia on Monday. One tanker ended up in the Kanawha River and at least 14 others exploded.

“It was a little scary. It was like an atomic bomb went off,” said David McClung, who said he felt the heat from the blast at his home about a half mile up the hill.

One of the explosions sent a fireball at least 300 feet into the air, he said.

Officials evacuated hundreds of families and shut down two water treatment plants threatened by oil seeping into the river. One person was treated for potential inhalation issues, but no other injuries have been reported, according to CSX, the train company.

Hours after the accident, fires were still burning, as state emergency and environmental officials rushed to the scene about 30 miles (about 50km) southeast of Charleston.

The state has been hit by heavy snowfall but it is not clear if the weather had anything to do with the derailment, which happened along a flat stretch of track.

Governor Earl Ray Tomblin has issued a state of emergency.

The tanker cars were loaded with Bakken crude from North Dakota and headed to Yorktown.

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