Steve July 29, 2020
train-derailment-in-arizona-sparks-massive-fire-on-bridge

A massive fire erupted near Phoenix on Wednesday morning following a train derailment, authorities said.

Tempe firefighters, paramedics and police rushed to a rail bridge over Tempe Town Lake, following the 6 a.m. MT derailment.

“This is a coordinated attack with several agencies fighting the fire involving multiple train cars,” Tempe police Det. Natalie Barela said in a statement. “The cause of the derailment has not been identified. This is a very fluid and active scene.”

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* CLOSURE * L-202 is closed in both directions between SR 143 and L-101 because of a train derailment and fire in Tempe.

All L-202 ramps are also closed between SR 143 and L-101.

THERE is no estimated time for reopening. #phxtraffic pic.twitter.com/UK6rBxDqKC

— Arizona DOT (@ArizonaDOT) July 29, 2020

There were no immediate reports of casualties from the derailment and fire, according to Tempe Police Chief Sylvia Moir.

“No injuries known at this time but the scene is very dangerous,” Moir tweeted. “Stay out of Tempe Town Lake and away from the area.”

Lumber being carried on the Union Pacific line was ablaze Wednesday, and hazardous materials crews were dispatched to the scene as a precaution while firefighters try to learn what else was on board, officials said.

With burning cars on a bridge over water, firefighters struggled to get close to the flames.

“Being over the water definitely adds some … challenge for us,” Tempe Assistant Fire Chief Andrea Glass told NBC affiliate KPNX. “Unfortunately there are some cars that will be lost because we just can’t get to them, they will burn.”

Representatives for Union Pacific could not be immediately reached for comment on Wednesday.

The accident forced closure of Loop 202, a major thoroughfare of the metropolitan Phoenix area, in both directions near the fire, the Arizona Department of Transportation said.

This is a developing story, please refresh here for updates.

Image: David K. LiDavid K. Li

David K. Li is a breaking news reporter for NBC News.

Liza Torres

Liza Torres is an NBC News desk editor based in Los Angeles.

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