Arizona train derailment causes bridge collapse


TEMPE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) – A huge fire is burning on a train on a bridge over Tempe Town Lake outside of Phoenix. The fire was pumping thick black smoke into the air. That smoke plume was visible for miles.

Camille Kimball was riding her bike under the bridge just a moment before it collapsed. She said the noise of the train became deafening, and as she came off the bridge, she saw people with their phone cameras trained behind her.

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“I turned around to look and got the fright of my life,” she said. “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.”

KPHO Helicopter pilot 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 move to the north, away from the huge smoke plume.

It’s not clear what sparked the fire or if anybody has been injured. The train car that is burning was reportedly carrying lumber, some of which was in the lake. There also was a tanker car that fell off the bridge. It’s not clear what the tanker was carrying, but KPHO reporters on the ground said it had a hazardous materials warning sign on it.