A massive fire continues to blaze over Tempe Town Lake near Phoenix, Arizona. At least 90 fire fighters responded early Wednesday morning as thick clouds of black smoke billowed from a burning freight train. The entire structure has been compromised and portions are beginning to collapse.
Massive train fire in Tempe
Sometime around 6 a.m. Wednesday, a serious incident occurred on the south side of Tempe Town Lake near Mill Avenue, ABC news reports. According to the Tempe Fire Department, “the incident involves a Union Pacific train” and “about 90 firefighters from multiple departments were called to the scene of the second-alarm hazardous materials response.”
The entire bridge is engulfed in flames from end to end, also involving a part of the neighboring Tempe Beach Park. Fire officials are especially concerned about the intense heat of the blaze. Things are further complicated by “possible unknown hazardous materials,” and the fact that the bridge is starting to collapse.
At this point, nobody is speculating as to the cause of the disastrous fire and they’re still working to “determine what was in each of the train cars and whether there could be further hazards.” The portion of the bridge which already collapsed was over land. No train cars are in the water of the small man-made decorative lake. Nobody has been reported injured.
A massive commuting bottleneck
As a safety precaution, “all of Tempe Town Lake is temporarily closed.” The light-rail line which shares the vehicle bridge has been shut down due to the fire. Valley Metro announced earlier that “Buses are being assembled to transport passengers around the incident.”
The fire has choked off a major artery for commuters into and out of the Tempe area. Not only are surface streets affected, Arizona Department of Transportation says “freeway traffic has also been impacted,” with closures to L-202 both ways. There “is no estimated time for reopening.”
According to officials and witnesses, some of the cars were carrying lumber and other’s are tankers. Lumber is floating in the lake but so far, there aren’t any reports of leaks from the tankers. Bystanders are being kept well away from the scene in anticipation of potential explosions from the fire.