Skip to content
Link copied to clipboard

It could happen to you

An oil train explodes in Philly next?

Hey, remember that time that a train with tons of highly flammable crude oil from North Dakota dangled off that Schuylkill River bridge that was built in 1886 (no, seriously), right near the busy expressway? What is the oil cars had fallen in the river. Well, it might have looked something like this -- what happened today in Lynchburg, Va.:

A CSX freight train carrying crude oil derailed in Lynchburg, Virginia Wednesday afternoon around 2 p.m. according to local authorities, "causing extensive flames and dense black smoke" to reach into the air.

The City of Lynchburg said that between 12 and 14 crude oil tanker cars derailed next to the James River, though fortunately there have been no reported injuries. The cause "has not been determined" at this time, according to a statement posted on the city's website.

WSET reporter James Gherardi estimated that the tankers were no more than 100 feet from river.

"You don't often imagine the James River on fire," said WSET anchor Len Stevens during his station's live broadcast.

Meanwhile, there's still no action from the Obama administration about overhauling or getting rid of these outdated tanker cars that keep exploding -- even though safety experts have recommended that for years. We're still waiting for word that CSX, which runs these mile-long oil trains right through the heart of Center City, has begun making badly needed repairs to the Philadelphia infrastructure, or if state and local first-responders even know when these things are coming to town.

What are they waiting for?