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Train derails in Lynchburg, Virginia: city officials

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A train derailed in downtown Lynchburg, Virginia on Wednesday, according to a statement published by city officials.

A spokeswoman said several train cars derailed around 2 p.m. EDT and there is fire and smoke at the site of the incident.

"We have no reports of injuries right now. The area is being evacuated," said Joann Martin, director of communications for the city of Lynchburg.

"We do not know yet what the train was carrying," she added.

A photo posted online by city authorities showed flammable liquid tank cars. At least seven train cars had derailed in the image in big plumes of smoke and flames.

Local media reported that the train belonged to CSX Corp. Reuters could not immediately verify this information.

A series of fiery derailments of trains carrying crude oil over the past year have prompted critics to question the safety of hauling explosive liquids by rail.

(Reporting by Selam Gebrekidan and Joshua Schneyer; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)

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