Fiery Freight Train Derailment in Lynchburg, Va., Forces Evacuations

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Flames and thick black smoke rose into the air after a train with tanker cars derailed in downtown Lynchburg in central Virginia on Wednesday afternoon.

A freight train derailed on April 30, 2014, along the James River in downtown Lynchburg, Va. (Credit: City of Lynchburg)

Lynchburg police advised motorists to keep away from the area and for nearby businesses to evacuate. Photos from the scene showed several black tanker cars on their side alongside the railroad tracks, but authorities did not immediately say what was inside the containers.

The derailment was along the James River near the Depot Grille restaurant, according to witness accounts on social media.

Philip Wilmarth felt the heat from the fire on the sixth floor of a building a couple of hundred yards away. He told the Los Angeles Times that he didn’t hear an explosion, but he saw at least a handful of train cars off the tracks.

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