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Fire crews battle huge fire in Tempe

Train wreck connected to blaze

PHOENIX, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) — Fire crews were battling a massive fire involving a train on the Tempe Town Lake bridge early Wednesday.

Heavy smoke was seen over Tempe Town Lake by Sky 12, our Phoenix affiliate's news helicopter.

The train was derailed and on fire and the Tempe Town Lake bridge partially collapsed. It's still unclear whether the derailment or the fire started first.

It's also not immediately known what caused either the derailment or the fire. About eight to 10 train cars were involved, according to Union Pacific.

The cars consisted of a mix of freight and tank cars. It was not immediately known what was in the tank cars, but some of the freight was lumber.

Union Pacific officials said they did not know when the last bridge inspection was.

Brandon Siebert, the Tempe Fire inspector, said it is possible that the train derailment led to the partial bridge collapse, but that was not immediately known.

The collapse occurred over land, Siebert added. It was just feet from the Tempe Beach Park corridor. There were no injuries on Tempe Beach Park, he added.

The train was hauling wood. That wood then caught on fire. Lumber also fell from the bridge and was burning on the road below.

It was not immediately known whether any people were injured and what the extent of their injuries were. The train conductor was safe.

Tempe Center for the Arts was evacuated. There were a few people inside but they were sent home.

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey issued this statement about the derailment late Wednesday morning:

“I commend the quick actions of first responders this morning to protect lives and property. Our focus is on protecting public safety and providing any and all resources and assistance necessary to aid Tempe. The State of Arizona, including the Department of Public Safety, the Department of Transportation and Department of Environmental Quality, are actively coordinating with local responders. I’ve also reached out to Tempe Mayor Corey Woods to express the State’s full support in this response. We’ll continue to monitor this situation closely and make all support available.” 

Gov. Doug Ducey, (R-Arizona)
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Lisa Sturgis

Lisa Sturgis recently returned to KYMA as its Digital Content Director, but she has a long history with the Desert Southwest.


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