A train was in flames of a massive fire Wednesday morning as Tempe Town Lake bridge collapse in Arizona and caused derailment on a railroad.
The incident occurred around 6 a.m. local time on the south side of the lake near Mill Avenue and it wasn’t immediately clear what caused the train to derail, or if anyone is injured.
A spokesperson with Tempe Fire Department reports the bridge collapse in Arizona involves a Union Pacific train that derailed.
Part of the bridge collapsed and the fire is developing across almost the entire bridge which is continuing to burn in what has been described as a “catastrophe”.
Video of the incident shows the fire along the length of the train bridge, a portion of which has collapsed.
At least 90 firefighters from multiple departments are at the scene of the second-alarm hazardous materials response.
Witnesses describe the moment of the Tempe train fire
Camille Kimball, a witness who was riding a bike under the bridge just a moment before the bridge collapsed in Arizona. She said the sound of the train became so loud, and as she came off the bridge.
“I turned around to look and got the fright of my life,” she stated. “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.” She explained the experience as “surreal.”
Bruce Haffner described the scene as “unbelievable.” “It’s such a catastrophe,” he said. Haffner also said that helicopters were coming in to help fight the fire from the air and that air traffic controllers were having planes taking off from Sky Harbor International Airport to move to the north, away from the huge smoke plume.
“We are directing aircraft north or south of the incident scene to minimize aircraft-noise distraction to fire crews,” an FAA spokesman told.
Although planes are being diverted around the incident, things at Sky Harbor are running as usual. “At this time, there are no impacts to our operations,” a spokesman said.
Tempe Town Lake bridge partially collapses in Arizona
“I turned around to look and got the fright of my life,” said Camille Kimball, who was riding her bike under the bridge just before it collapsed. “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.”
Officials are investigating to determine what was in each of the train cars and whether there could be more hazards or not.
The Phoenix region’s Valley Metro announces light rail trains are not crossing Tempe Town Lake at this time because of the fire of the bridge. Valley Metro’s train service is being placed at Mill Ave/3rd St and Center Parkway/Wash St.
Some streets in the area are also restricted and freeway traffic on the nearby Loop 202 may be impacted due to smoke, according to Tempe Police.
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