LYNCHBURG, VA (WWBT) –
Lynchburg officials are asking everyone to avoid downtown following a train derailment Wednesday afternoon.
About 12 to 14 cars of a CSX train derailed near 9th Street in Lynchburg, causing three to four to leak crude oil, city officials said.
Some of the oil has leaked into the James River, causing Richmond officials to suspend drawing water from the river.
Fire from the derailment created plumes of black smoke, which could be seen for miles. Lynchburg officials have decided to let the fire burn out.
Joanne Martin with the City of Lynchburg told wsls.com 300 people have been evacuated from nearby buildings, but no injuries have been reported at this time.
A portion of the train is blocking the Griffin Pipe Foundry, preventing workers from leaving, reports WSLS. CSX officials are working to remove debris so that workers can leave the area.
Following the derailment, Gov. Terry McAuliffe released a statement pledging support:
"This afternoon my Public Safety team informed me of the train derailment and fire in Lynchburg. Immediately after those reports were received the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, the Virginia State Police, and the Virginia Department of Fire Programs were instructed to coordinate with local responders and mobilize the resources necessary to respond to this incident.
Deputy Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Adam Thiel has been dispatched to the scene and will provide my team and me with constant updates as this situation unfolds. I have also spoken with Lynchburg Mayor Michael Gillette and offered him any and all resources he needs to respond to this incident and keep Virginians safe."
Copyright 2014 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved