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Video Footage Shows Massive Explosion After West Virginia 'Bomb Train' Derailment

A 109-car train carry crude oil from North Dakota's Bakken region derailed on Monday, setting off an explosion and forcing authorities to evacuate residents living in the town of Mount Carbon.

by Matt Smith
Feb 18 2015, 4:40pm

Image via WSAZ

Investigators have arrived on the scene of a West Virginia oil train derailment, which forced the evacuation of residents living in the town of Mount Carbon, about 35 miles southeast of Charleston.

The explosion of one of the tank cars was captured on video by a local television station as they interviewed a witness to the Monday afternoon incident. The blast sent a massive fireball into the afternoon sky.

A train derailment leads to an explosion in West Virginia, and the whole thing is caught on camera during an interview on WSAZ. (Video via WSAZ)

More than two dozen cars from the 109-car train jumped the track in the Monday afternoon derailment, the National Transportation Safety Board said.

"Some of the derailed tank cars released an unknown amount of crude oil onto the ground, which immediately ignited. Some of the crude oil likely entered the river. Downstream water treatment intakes on the Kanawha River were closed as a precaution," the federal agency reported Tuesday afternoon.

West Virginia American Water, a utility that draws from the Kanawha, said utility workers and National Guard troops were taking water samples every hour and handing out bottled water for residents affected by the spill.

The oil boom in North Dakota's Bakken region has led to a large number of trains hauling crude across the United States and Canada, and a series of accidents involving those trains has raised concerns about the safety of aging tank cars. But a spokesman for the CSX railroad told Reuters that the train that derailed Monday was hauling a newer, tougher model of tank car that was designed to better withstand crashes.

Bomb Trains: The Crude Gamble of Oil by Rail. Watch the VICE News documentary.

Follow Matt Smith on Twitter: @mattsmithatl