TEMPE -- A freight train crossing a bridge in Tempe derailed Wednesday, setting the bridge ablaze and partially collapsing the structure, officials said. Federal officials were dispatched to start a preliminary investigation of the incident.
According to the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ), air quality is good and there is no risk to the public. It is too soon to know what, if any, impacts there are to the water in Tempe Town Lake. At this time, no chemicals are leaking into the lake.
One of the derailed cars contained cyclohexane, a flammable industrial chemical used to make nylon and paint remover. HAZMAT crews have placed a foam layer over the car to help keep it cool and manage any chemical vapors. This chemical is leaking into a storm drain that disperses into the riverbed on the west side of the dam. Testing in the area is underway and city crews are working to stop the leak.
The other two cars remaining on the train track do contain chemicals; however, neither are a HAZMAT concern at this time.
It is unknown what, if any, impacts the derailment will have on wildlife habitats in the riverbed and surrounding riparian areas. The city will provide updates as they are received.
Road closures, light rail and bus service
- Loop 202 has reopened between Loop 101 and SR 143.
- Mill Avenue Bridge remains closed in both directions.
- Eastbound light rail service is terminating at 50th Street and Washington. Westbound service ends at Smith-Martin/Apache. Shuttle buses continue to transport passengers between those stations.