Most residents return to homes near W.Va. train derailment

AP News
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Posted: Feb 20, 2015 12:06 PM

MOUNT CARBON, W.Va. (AP) — Most residents were allowed to return to their homes Friday along a road where an oil train derailed in southern West Virginia.

State public safety agency spokesman Lawrence Messina said the last of the small fires were out at the scene of Monday's fiery crash in Mount Carbon.

One lane of the state highway nearby reopened Friday. Because of the presence of heavy equipment trucks responding to the crash site, traffic was moving slowly.

About 225 people live in 100 homes in the area of the crash along the road. A statement from multiple agencies responding to the derailment said residents of five homes adjacent to the site remained under an evacuation order. Authorities will assess those properties to determine when it becomes safe for those residents to return.

Federal Railroad Administration spokesman Kevin Thompson said frigid weather continues to hamper crews trying to transfer oil out of wrecked tanker cars before the cars are removed. Hydraulic pumps were being used Friday to pump out the oil. Other equipment froze Thursday night in subzero weather conditions, he said.

Investigators are trying to determine what caused the derailment of the train carrying 3 million gallons of crude from North Dakota's Bakken oil fields to an oil-shipping depot in Yorktown, Virginia. Speed doesn't appear to have been a factor, Federal Railroad Administration acting administrator Sarah Feinberg said Thursday.

The crash shot fireballs into the sky, destroyed a house, leaked oil into a Kanawha River tributary and forced nearby water treatment plants to temporarily shut down.

Twenty-seven of the 107 tank cars on the CSX train derailed, and 19 of those were involved in the fires.