Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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July 15, 2014

Wytheville officials say public was not exposed to hazardous materials from train derailment

WYTHEVILLE, Va. — Click here to view slideshow:

Local emergency officials said Tuesday they have determined that the public has not been exposed to any hazardous materials from a large-scale train derailment in Wytheville.

Norfolk Southern spokesman Robin Chapman also confirmed Tuesday that there was no hazardous material spill. Chapman said initials concerns of a possible hazardous material spill have since been ruled out. The train was carrying automobiles and containers.

Crews with Norfolk Southern were still working Tuesday to clear the large-scale train derailment that occurred in the city limits of Wytheville.

“We have crews on site right now working to repair the track and we are in the process or have already moved the rail cars that didn’t derail out of the rail area,” Norfolk Southern spokesman Robin Chapman said Tuesday morning. “And the cause is still under investigation. There is no estimate at this time as to when the line will be opening.”

Almost a dozen railroad cars derailed Monday evening at approximately 6:30 p.m. in city limits along Route 21. Chapman said initials concerns of a possible hazardous material spill have since been ruled out. The train was carrying automobiles and containers.

A press release issued by the city also confirmed Tuesday that no hazardous materials were released.

“Local emergency officials say they have determined that the public has not been exposed to any hazardous materials,” the press release said.

Rick Arnold, chief of police for the town of Wytheville, said local officials are advising the public to avoid travel through the area.

“This is an eastbound intermodal train going from Louisville, Ky., to Norfolk, Va., and it consisted of 33 rail cars and three locomotives,” Chapman said.

Nine of the cars that derailed were carrying automobiles. Two double-stack container cars were also on the ground, he said.

Route 21, or Grayson Turnpike, was blocked by the accident, according to a dispatcher with the Virginia State Police in Wytheville. There was no immediate estimate about when the road would be cleared.

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