Skip to main content

Massive fire erupts after train carrying ND oil derails in West Virginia

  • Author:
  • Updated:

The train which derailed during a snowstorm in West Virginia, sending a massive fireball into the sky, was carrying crude from the Bakken oilfields in North Dakota.

The derailment happened around 1:20 p.m. Eastern time on Monday, with up to 15 train cars coming off the tracks in Fayette County – some of which caught fire, prompting a huge explosion, the LA Times reports.

The newspaper notes the 109-car CSX train was carrying oil from the Bakken shale formation to Yorktown, Virginia, and that following the crash, one of the tankers is believed to be leaking oil into the Kanawha River.

Train operator CSX is primarily based in the eastern United States, only going as far west as St. Louis and Chicago, so it does not run routes through Minnesota, North Dakota or Wisconsin.

But each week around 50 oil trains carrying a million gallons of crude Bakken oil pass through Minnesota, from North Dakota or Alberta, on the way to refineries in southern and eastern United States, with the majority of these going through the Twin Cities.

Last month, state officials said first responders in Minnesota are "not prepared" to deal with an oil train disaster.

This embed is invalid

The West Virginia incident is just the latest in a series of high-profile derailments involving oil trains.

A state of emergency has been declared in the area and 1,000 people have been evacuated. The Associated Press reports that the crash comes as transport officials weigh tougher safety regulations for oil transportation that would phase out "tens of thousands of older tank cars."

Reuters says the inability to replace aging tank cars is an "astonishing example of regulatory failure," given that they were recognized as necessary for public safety in 2012, and stricter rules governing them aren't likely to be rolled out until 2017-18.

Next Up

Screen Shot 2022-09-30 at 4.54.42 PM

FBI, police investigating bank robbery at Edina's 50th and France

An ATM technician was robbed by four men at a U.S. Bank.

Ethan Glynn

Paralyzed Bloomington football player begins rehabilitation in Colorado

Ethan Glynn is at a world-renowned rehabilitation hospital.

Press Bar fire

Owner of St. Cloud bar gets 6 years for arson, ordered to repay $3M

A February 2020 fire at the Press Bar and Parlor was later determined to be an insurance job.


Bloomington, Richfield districts tighten security ahead of weekend football

Enhanced safety measures will be in place this weekend.

Screen Shot 2022-09-30 at 2.23.15 PM

Walz sends MN first responders to help with hurricane recovery in Florida

Eight members of the Minnesota All Hazards Incident Management Team will travel to Florida.


It was the driest September in Twin Cities modern history

Less than a quarter inch of rain fell in September.

Jay James Olson

Sauk Rapids man pleads guilty to making, selling ghost guns

The 21-year-old would sell unserialized guns, silencers, auto-sears, and high-capacity magazines.

Pixabay - gray squirrel

Squirrel blamed for Friday power outage impacting over 5,000 homes

There's no telling when or where the squirrels will strike next.