Freight Train Derailment Results In State of Emergency

 November 23, 2023

A major incident unfolded in Rockcastle County, Kentucky, as a CSX freight train derailed, leading to a chemical spill and an intense fire. The occurrence prompted urgent responses from local and state authorities.

A CSX freight train derailment caused a chemical spill and fire in Rockcastle County, Kentucky, leading to a state of emergency declaration.

The incident occurred on Wednesday, involving a total of 16 train cars. Two of these cars contained molten sulfur, and their spillage contributed significantly to the ensuing fire. The other 14 cars either carried non-hazardous materials, such as grain and plastic, or were empty.

Immediate Response to the Crisis

Following the derailment, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear declared a state of emergency. This action was taken to ensure the availability of all state resources needed to tackle the crisis effectively.

Residents of Livingston, a nearby town, were encouraged to evacuate for their safety. The evacuation was not mandatory, but it was strongly advised due to the potential risks posed by the chemical spill and fire.

CSX, the operator of the derailed train, and local emergency responders collaborated tirelessly through the night. Their efforts were focused on extinguishing the fire, which posed a significant threat to the surrounding area.

Support for the Affected Community

CSX demonstrated its commitment to the community by providing essential support to those affected by the incident. This support included food, lodging, and other necessities, ensuring the well-being of the displaced residents.

The company also issued a statement detailing their ongoing efforts in collaboration with local emergency services. This statement highlighted the challenges faced and the actions taken to address the situation effectively.

The fire, primarily fueled by the spilled molten sulfur, required significant efforts to be extinguished. The hazardous nature of the materials involved added complexity to the response operations.

Governor's Call for Safety

In his statement, Governor Beshear emphasized the importance of public safety and the need for residents to avoid the affected area. His declaration of a state of emergency was critical in mobilizing the necessary resources.

"By issuing a state of emergency, we are ensuring that every state resource is available to help keep our families safe. Please stay clear of this area as state, local and CSX officials respond." - Governor Andy Beshear

The Governor's prompt action and focus on safety were crucial in the state's response to the derailment and its aftermath.

Details of the Derailment

The derailment occurred on a Wednesday afternoon in Rockcastle County. The situation quickly escalated due to the nature of the train's cargo.

Out of the 16 derailed cars, two were carrying molten sulfur, which is known to be hazardous, especially when exposed to the environment. The spill and subsequent fire posed significant risks, necessitating the evacuation advisory.

Though not directly contributing to the fire, the remaining cars were part of the derailment and required attention in the cleanup and investigation processes.

Evacuation and Safety Measures

In Livingston, residents faced the decision to evacuate their homes as a precaution. While not mandatory, this measure was advised to ensure maximum safety amid the unpredictable nature of the incident.

In collaboration with CSX, the local authorities worked to provide clear guidance and support to the residents during this challenging time. Their priority was the safety and well-being of those potentially affected by the derailment.

Emergency services were on high alert, ready to respond to any developments in the situation. Their presence ensured a swift and coordinated response to the emergency.

Overnight Efforts to Contain the Fire

The efforts to extinguish the fire extended overnight from Wednesday to Thursday. This operation was a testament to the dedication of the emergency responders and CSX personnel.

Given the hazardous materials involved, the situation's complexity required a well-coordinated response. The teams worked diligently to control and eventually extinguish the fire.

CSX's Statement and Ongoing Efforts

A CSX spokesperson commented on the situation, providing insights into the challenges faced and the progress made in addressing the incident.

"CSX and local emergency responders in Rockcastle county, Ky., worked through the night in an ongoing effort to extinguish a fire following yesterday’s train derailment just north of Livingston, Ky. The derailment involved 16 cars, including two molten sulphur cars that lost some of their contents which continue to burn." - CSX Spokesperson

The statement from CSX provided a clear picture of the situation, highlighting the collaborative efforts with local emergency services.

The commitment of CSX to the response efforts and the well-being of the affected community was evident in their actions and communications.


  • A CSX freight train derailment in Rockcastle County, Kentucky, caused a significant chemical spill and fire.
  • 16 cars derailed, with two containing molten sulfur that contributed to the fire.
  • Governor Andy Beshear declared a state of emergency to mobilize necessary resources.
  • Residents of Livingston were encouraged to evacuate due to safety concerns.
  • CSX and local emergency responders worked overnight to extinguish the fire.
  • CSX provided support to the affected community, including food and lodging.

About Victor Winston

Victor is a freelance writer and researcher who focuses on national politics, geopolitics, and economics.

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