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Train derails, leaks chemicals near river

By Karissa Manis, Producer, kmanis@wcyb.com
Published On: Mar 26 2013 04:24:28 PM CDT
Updated On: Mar 23 2013 04:40:02 PM CDT

Crews are on scene investigating a train derailment on Splash Dam Road in Dickenson County, Virginia.

HAYSI, Va. -

Train cars dangling from the railroad tracks were a scary sight for residents in Haysi, Virginia on March 23. Click here to view photos.

The train, heading from Hamlet, North Carolina to Russell, Kentucky, had two locomotives and 64 freight cars. According to CSX Railroad, a total of 18 cars were derailed, leaving some in the Russell Fork River.

"No injuries were reported. We did send a crew down to check on the conductor and everybody was fine," said Haysi Fire Chief Rocky Wood.

The 4 cars that fell into water were empty, but one carrying hazardous materials was overturned. "We do have one tanker car that is leaking, but [the chemical] has not made it to the waterway at this time," Wood told us after the accident.

Wood tells News 5 it is a slow but controlled leak; however, it is leaking propionic acid, which is flammable and can be explosive.

According to CSX, propionic acid is a corrosive material used for a variety of reasons, including in herbicides, preservatives for grain and woodchips, and mold inhibitors for bread. "We do have Wise County's Hazmat team at the car right now doing more inspection on it," Wood said.

As a precaution, the waterway has been closed off and water management teams in surrounding areas have been notified. For now, crews are working to make sure the leak stops and doesn't spread into the water.

CSX employees are working to find out what caused the accident and how to clean up the mess.

Click here to view photos of the accident.