A CSX train carrying crude oil derailed in the small town of Lynchburg, Va., today, and the AP reports that three tankers ended up in the James River. Nearby Richmond was preparing to switch to an alternate water supply, though officials said the river's high level will likely make that unnecessary, reports the Times-Dispatch. No injuries have been reported, and firefighters decided to let the fire burn itself out, which seemed to be mostly complete by this evening. Lynchburg, then, looked to be avoiding the fate of Lac-Megantic, Quebec, where an oil train derailment killed about 50 people in July.
"This is another national wake-up call," former NTSB chairman Jim Hall said of the Lynchburg crash. "We have these oil trains moving all across the United States through communities and the growth and distribution of this has all occurred, unfortunately, while the federal regulators have been asleep." By the NTSB's count, eight major oil train accidents have occurred in the US or Canada in the last year. Lynchburg is home to Jerry Falwell's Liberty University. (Read more CSX stories.)