News, Culture & Society

Arizona freight train derails causing fire and bridge collapse

A freight train derailed in Tempe, Arizona Wednesday morning, sparking a huge fire and causing part of a bridge to collapse. 

Pictures from the scene show the blaze over Tempe Beach Park after up to ten cars derailed, including a tanker labeled with a hazardous materials sign. 

The incident happened at around 6am local time. Lumber and debris can be seen in the water. None of the train’s crew members were hurt but there was a report of someone suffering from smoke inhalation, said Tim McMahan, a spokesman for Union Pacific Railroad.

McMahan said two tanker cars on the ground contained flammable liquid cyclohexanone and another contained a rubber material but that there were no reports of any leaks and these tanks were not part of the blaze. The cars that burned were thought to be carrying the lumber.

Tempe police tweeted: ‘@TempePolice and Tempe Fire are on scene of a train derailment and large fire over Tempe Town Lake. Several roads are restricted near Tempe Town Lake and west of downtown Tempe. Please avoid the area.’  

Police Chief Sylvia Moir tweeted: ‘Update- Tempe Train derailment and Fire- No injuries known at this time but the scene is very dangerous. 

‘Stay out of Tempe Town Lake and away from the area.’

Investigative reporter Camille Kimball, 59, was cycling under the more than 100-year-old bridge at the time and managed to escape with seconds to spare.

A freight train has derailed in Tempe, Arizona sparking a huge fire. It is not known what caused the derailment at this time

Pictures from the scene Wednesday morning show part of the bridge over Tempe Beach Park has collapsed

Pictures from the scene Wednesday morning show part of the bridge over Tempe Beach Park has collapsed

Tempe police tweeted: '@TempePolice and Tempe Fire are on scene of a train derailment and large fire over Tempe Town Lake. Several roads are restricted near Tempe Town Lake and west of downtown Tempe. Please avoid the area'

Tempe police tweeted: ‘@TempePolice and Tempe Fire are on scene of a train derailment and large fire over Tempe Town Lake. Several roads are restricted near Tempe Town Lake and west of downtown Tempe. Please avoid the area’

Pictures from the scene Wednesday morning show part of the bridge over Tempe Beach Park has also collapsed

Pictures from the scene Wednesday morning show part of the bridge over Tempe Beach Park has also collapsed

Investigative reporter Camille Kimball, 59, was cycling under the bridge at the time and managed to escape with seconds to spare

Investigative reporter Camille Kimball, 59, was cycling under the bridge at the time and managed to escape with seconds to spare

She told DailyMail.com: ‘I had been biking up in the desert and had just been coming across the historic Mill Avenue Bridge and I passed under the train bridge which is something I do every day. 

‘As I entered the area under the train bridge I was aware there was a train passing because I can hear it. It got really loud and I thought “this is the loudest train I’ve ever heard”. 

‘As I emerged into the sunshine I could see other joggers and dog walkers facing the bridge with their cell phones out. Where I had been there was fiery debris.’

Kimball said she avoided the bridge collapse by seconds.

‘As I watched the flames got higher and higher,’ she said. ‘I realized the sound I heard was the bridge collapsing. 

‘I feel we are all lucky in so far as we know no one was hurt.’  

She added to CBS5: ‘I turned around to look and got the fright of my life. 

‘Now there’s fire pouring into the lake from the middle of the bridge. It’ looks like a scene from hell, truly. A scene from hell. The flames are intense and the sky is filled with black smoke.’ 

At least 90 firefighters are on the scene in the crash which involved a Union Pacific train. 

Valley Metro tweeted: ‘Service Alert-Update: Due to a heavy rail fire in Tempe, Valley Metro is terminating service eastbound at 38th St/Wash and Smith Martin/Apache Blvd in Tempe. Buses are being assembled to transport passengers around the incident.’ 

The incident happened at around 6:30am local time. Lumber and debris could be seen in the water

The incident happened at around 6:30am local time. Lumber and debris could be seen in the water

Smoke fills the sky at the scene of a train derailment in Tempe. Officials say a freight train traveling on a bridge that spans a lake in the Phoenix suburb derailed and set the bridge ablaze and partially collapsing the structure

Smoke fills the sky at the scene of a train derailment in Tempe. Officials say a freight train traveling on a bridge that spans a lake in the Phoenix suburb derailed and set the bridge ablaze and partially collapsing the structure

A derailed tanker was also labeled with a hazardous materials sign. It is not yet known what caused the crash

A derailed tanker was also labeled with a hazardous materials sign. It is not yet known what caused the crash

Police Chief Sylvia Moir tweeted: 'Update- Tempe Train derailment and Fire- No injuries known at this time but the scene is very dangerous'

Police Chief Sylvia Moir tweeted: ‘Update- Tempe Train derailment and Fire- No injuries known at this time but the scene is very dangerous’

The 2.5-mile man-made lake is a popular recreation spot for jogging, cycling and boating located near Arizona State University.

The 2.5-mile man-made lake is a popular recreation spot for jogging, cycling and boating located near Arizona State University. 

Local TV station footage showed huge flames, plumes of thick, black smoke and train cars lying on the ground below the bridge. 

The 2.5-mile man-made lake is a popular recreation spot for jogging, cycling and boating located near Arizona State University. 

Tempe hit the headlines earlier this week when a protest to support the Black Lives Matter movement turned violent. 

After the crowd ignored orders to disperse, police deployed tear gas at the protesters, who responded by launching projectiles and shouting profanities as they moved toward a line of officers on bicycles.

Footage showed huge flames, plumes of thick, black smoke and train cars lying on the ground below the bridge

Footage showed huge flames, plumes of thick, black smoke and train cars lying on the ground below the bridge

Authorities are still trying to determine what was aboard the trains

Authorities are still trying to determine what was aboard the trains

The 2.5-mile man-made lake is a popular recreation spot for jogging, cycling and boating located near Arizona State University

The 2.5-mile man-made lake is a popular recreation spot for jogging, cycling and boating located near Arizona State University

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk