Derailed Freight Train Spills Fuel and Sets River on Fire in Kentucky

Two people were sent to the hospital with minor injuries after a rockslide derailed a CSX freight train near Draffin, Kentucky, on February 13, leading to a diesel-fuel spill and fire on the Big Sandy River.

Kentucky resident Rod Spradlin was driving by the river just before 7 am when he noticed the fire and captured this footage. “It was dark at first. I parked and walked to the river to see the damage and see if I could help,” he told Storyful.

The train had 96 tanker cars filled with ethanol, but officials said the fire on the river was primarily from the engine’s leaked diesel fuel, according to WYMT. Two ethanol tanker cars that were breached in the derailment and caught fire burned on the banks, media reported. “They have pretty much since burnt out,” an emergency official told WYMT.

The Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet said they were testing water samples and working with local water systems to ensure the safety of local drinking water was maintained.

Spradlin recorded video footage of the flaming river, and the two crew members resting atop the train’s engine. The CSX employees were eventually rescued by firefighters after they crawled out of the flaming locomotive.

The fire was contained as of 11.29 am local time, and the two crew members were taken to a nearby hospital. Credit: Rod Spradlin via Storyful