Authorities are evacuating numerous buildings around a train derailment and fire along the James River in downtown Lynchburg, Va.
The city of Lynchburg on its website posted that the fire department was on the scene Wednesday afternoon and urged motorists and pedestrians to avoid the area.
No injuries were immediately reported.
Photos and video show several black tanker-like train cars derailed and extensive flames and smoke.
A phone message left by The Associated Press with the Lynchburg Police Department wasn't immediately returned.
Lynchburg is a city of about 77,000 people in the foothills of Blue Ridge Mountains. It is home to Liberty University and several others and is located about halfway between Baltimore and Charlotte, N.C.
Governor Andrew Cuomo linked the dreailment in Virginia to his letter to the president, where he asked for safety regualtions for the crude oil transport system.
"This is the latest in a series of accidents involving trains transporting crude oil, a startling pattern that underscores the need for action. In addition to steps that states like New York are taking, the federal government must overhaul the safety regulations, starting with taking DOT-111 trains off the rails now. These trains travel through populated communities in Upstate New York and we cannot wait for a tragic disaster in our state to act."
Information from the Associated Press was used in this article.