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Arizona train derailment and fire described as 'a scene from hell'

One person was treated for smoke inhalation after a Union Pacific train derailed and caught fire on a bridge over Tempe Town Lake in Arizona, officials said.

Posted: Jul 30, 2020 6:31 AM
Updated: Jul 30, 2020 6:31 AM

One person was treated for smoke inhalation after a Union Pacific train derailed and caught fire on a bridge over Tempe Town Lake in Arizona, officials said Wednesday.

Plumes of black smoke could be seen Wednesday morning rising into the sky beneath a trail of flames on video and images from the site of the derailment, where part of the bridge collapsed.

The National Transportation Safety Board said via Twitter that it would investigate but that it was not traveling to the crash site at this time.

The fire reached four alarms, which Tempe Fire Chief Greg Ruiz said was a "very, very large event."

"The focus of the initial operation was to contain the fire and keep it from spreading to additional cars," Ruiz told reporters. "The fire has been knocked down and the crews continue to address any hotspots along the bridge."

Now, first responders were focused on containing leak of hazardous material from one of the cars, he said.

Tempe police Chief Sylvia Moir urged residents via Twitter to stay away from the scene, which she described as very dangerous.

"There's fire pouring into the lake from the middle of the bridge," Camille Kimball, who was riding her bike under the structure, told CNN affiliate KTVK/KPHO. "It looks like a scene from hell, truly."

The freight train, headed to Phoenix from Tucson, derailed about 6:15 a.m. local time, Union Pacific spokesman Tim McMahan said in a statement.

Eight to 10 train cars were on fire, according to McMahan.

The south side of the bridge collapsed, sending rail cars into an empty park below, the statement said. The bridge had its annual inspection on July 9.

One person was treated for smoke inhalation, McMahan said. The train crew was not injured.

Three tank cars were on the ground under the bridge, the spokesman said. Two contained cyclohexanone, a flammable and colorless oily liquid used to make nylon and as a solvent. The other carried a rubber material.

McMahan said the tank cars were not reported leaking, and not involved in the fire.

But Ruiz said the liquid had leaked from one derailed car onto a "drybed area."

State environmental officials were monitoring air quality and found "no imminent hazard," according to Ruiz. He said authorities had responded to a smaller derailment in the same area on June 26 -- which resulted in a fire on some rail ties.

A firefighter was treated for dehydration, Ruiz said.

Fire department spokesman Brandon Siebert had earlier said officials were "erring on the side of caution" and keeping firefighters and bystanders "as far away as possible" until they know more about the hazardous material on the train.

The operator was safe and assisting hazmat technicians, according to Siebert.

The cause of the derailment is under investigation. Investigators with the Federal Railroad Administration were en route to the crash scene, KTVK/KPHO reported.

"It is possible the derailment led to the partial bridge collapse but don't know that for sure at this time," Siebert said.

Nearly 100 firefighters from Phoenix, Tempe, Chandler, Mesa and Scottsdale responded to the scene, according to Siebert.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 343505

Reported Deaths: 7543
CountyCasesDeaths
Hinds23932444
DeSoto23229283
Harrison20527329
Rankin15411291
Jackson15232252
Madison10959227
Lee10719179
Jones9047169
Forrest8723159
Lauderdale7884244
Lowndes7054151
Lamar702989
Lafayette6548124
Washington5595139
Pearl River5196152
Bolivar4954134
Oktibbeha494398
Panola4771112
Warren4728128
Marshall4701106
Pontotoc447773
Union433279
Monroe4330137
Neshoba4281181
Hancock428088
Lincoln4176116
Pike3667113
Leflore3627125
Tate353388
Alcorn350974
Sunflower347694
Scott341176
Adams340988
Yazoo339376
Copiah324968
Simpson322891
Itawamba314680
Coahoma314085
Tippah306568
Prentiss298863
Covington293484
Leake285475
Marion284181
Wayne277543
George272251
Grenada269488
Newton262364
Tishomingo239770
Winston236784
Jasper230648
Stone229637
Attala226373
Chickasaw219060
Holmes200174
Clay197654
Clarke186880
Tallahatchie183742
Calhoun181332
Smith179235
Yalobusha171540
Walthall145748
Lawrence142826
Greene140134
Amite137543
Noxubee135235
Perry133538
Montgomery133044
Carroll126431
Webster121232
Jefferson Davis116734
Tunica114227
Benton106725
Claiborne105331
Kemper102429
Humphreys100133
Franklin87923
Quitman84719
Choctaw82619
Wilkinson78032
Jefferson71328
Sharkey51618
Issaquena1736
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 577463

Reported Deaths: 11510
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson841981589
Mobile47171860
Madison37047533
Tuscaloosa26915465
Shelby26873256
Montgomery25918625
Baldwin24499328
Lee16949181
Calhoun15252332
Morgan15017290
Etowah14778370
Marshall12933235
Houston11774292
Elmore10761217
St. Clair10617252
Limestone10574158
Cullman10363205
Lauderdale10083254
DeKalb9382191
Talladega8836188
Walker7681287
Autauga7479114
Jackson7317117
Blount7266139
Colbert6635142
Coffee6163132
Dale5453117
Russell470642
Chilton4682117
Covington4649125
Franklin450081
Tallapoosa4440156
Escambia427882
Chambers3898125
Dallas3717163
Clarke367763
Marion3427106
Pike327879
Lawrence3225101
Winston294973
Bibb284565
Geneva276383
Marengo259967
Barbour246261
Pickens240062
Butler238272
Hale232778
Fayette225264
Henry209245
Monroe197241
Randolph196744
Cherokee196348
Washington180139
Macon168752
Crenshaw165558
Clay163759
Cleburne160245
Lamar149938
Lowndes144854
Wilcox130531
Bullock126142
Conecuh119630
Coosa116929
Perry109928
Sumter109032
Greene98736
Choctaw64325
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Very hot and very humid conditions linger in our area for our Saturday. However, the heat and humidity start to dwindle a bit as we go into our Sunday and beyond. As a matter of fact below normal high temperatures for this time of year.
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