Train derails catches fire in Pike County, KY

Local News

UPDATE: FEBRUARY 18, 2020, 6:15 p.m.: According to Cindy Schild, director, media relations & public affairs with CSX Corporation, all three derailed locomotives and five cars have been recovered and moved away from the Draffin, Kentucky site.

“Safety remains our top priority as we continue stabilization and restoration efforts before actual track repairs can begin,” she said. “Any questions regarding the incident investigation should be directed to the (National Transportation Safety Board). CSX continues to extend its deep appreciation to all the local first responders, emergency management officials, the (United States Environmental Protection Agency), Kentucky Department of Environmental Protection and the Kentucky State Police for their continued assistance as we work to restore the area.”

UPDATE: February 13, 2020, 1:20 p.m.: Pike County Emergency Management Director Doug Tackett tells 13 News one locomotive went into the river and two others derailed behind it. Two of the ethanol cars involved in the fire were breached in the derailment, and they’ve since burnt out.

“Volunteer responders, you know, get out of bed and come and do this type of thing. At that time of morning, it’s pretty quick response for volunteers, and I’m proud of what they were able to accomplish,” Tacket said.

Two water plants downstream have both been notified. One was told to shut down because it’s just downstream from the derailment. The other is farther downstream and plans to take appropriate action when it’s time, according to Tackett.

UPDATE: February 13, 2020, 12:38 p.m.: Kentucky State Police released a statement on the train derailment in Pike County.

Post 9 of the Kentucky State Police was notified of a train derailment involving a southbound CSX train caused by a large mud and rockslide on the tracks, according to state police.

When the train struck the slide, two engines and an unknown number of rail cars ended up on the riverbank. A fire at the scene is now completely contained with no danger to the public. A CXS crewmember helped the train crew from the engine to the riverbank. Rescue personnel responded to the scene with boats, police said.

CSX emergency teams and other agencies have been mobilized, according to the Kentucky State Police, and will be responding to the scene over the next few days. The public is being ask to avoid the area as much as possible for safety, due to the limited amount of parking and narrow roadway in the area.

(Video Courtesy Mountain Top News)

UPDATE: February 13, 2020, 11:15 a.m.: The situation is contained and there is no hazard to the community, according to Kentucky State Police. They also said those evacuated may now return to their homes.

Two or three engines were involved in the derailment. One engine fell into the Big Sandy River, and two caught fire, Kentucky State Police said. Two people on board the train were taken to Pikeville Medical Center for minor injuries. Two engines remain on fire as officials say the train was carrying ethanol.

CSX and railroad police are on the scene and CSX says it will be sending another train to pull the derailed train from the Big Sandy River, Kentucky State Police said.

Several agencies responded to the scene including Kentucky State Police, Marrow Bone Volunteer Fire Department, Pike County Sheriff’s Office, Pike County Emergency Management, and the State Fire Marshal. Officials say the NTSB has also been notified of the accident. 

UPDATE: February 13, 2020, 9:45 a.m.: CSX has released the following statement:

“At approximately 7:05 a.m. today, a southbound CSX train derailed in Draffin, KY. The train consisted of 96 loaded ethanol cars and two loaded rock cars. Preliminary information indicates that the train hit a rock slide and derailed two locomotives and an unknown number of rail cars into the Big Sandy River near Pond Creek Road. The two crew members were able to exit the derailed locomotive and make it safely to the shore. One of the derailed locomotives is on fire as well as an unknown number of cars. CSX has mobilized its emergency teams and is working with the local authorities to respond to the incident.”

Statement from CSX

PIKE COUNTY, KY (WOWK) – According to KY Transportation Cabinet District 12, a CSX train carrying ethanol derailed shortly after seven o’clock Thursday morning near Old Pond Road across from Ratliff Bottom in Pike County, KY. The engine of the train was burning.

A Pike County Emergency Management official says some of the ethanol appeared to be leaking into a nearby creek and that residents of Ratliff Bottom have been evacuated.

We’re told two people aboard the train were transported to Pikeville Medical Center. No word on their condition at this time.

The scene is across the river from US 460. The derailment has not affected traffic on along US 460.

According to Ratliff Bottom resident, William Ratliff the train was hit by a rockslide coming off the mountain.

13 News has a crew en route to the scene. Stay with us for updates as this is a developing story.

This is a developing story, and we will continue to update it on, the WOWK 13 News App, and on 13 News on air.

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