Train derails on Arizona bridge that collapses, catches fire

Local firefighters attempt to put out a fire on a derailed freight train on a bridge spanning Tempe Town Lake Wednesday, July 29, 2020, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
Local firefighters attempt to put out a fire on a derailed freight train on a bridge spanning Tempe Town Lake Wednesday, July 29, 2020, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Credit: Ross D. Franklin

Credit: Ross D. Franklin

Officials say a freight train derailed on a bridge that spans a lake in a Phoenix suburb, setting the bridge ablaze and partially collapsing it

PHOENIX (AP) — A freight train derailed Wednesday as it traveled on a bridge that spans a man-made lake in a Phoenix suburb, setting the bridge ablaze and partially collapsing the structure, officials said.

Tempe police said there was another derailment in the same area last month that slightly damaged the bridge, but it's unclear if that led to the latest incident.

Union Pacific Railroad officials said 12 cars derailed on June 26 and the repairs were done within 48 hours. It also said the bridge had its annual inspection on July 9.

The derailment Wednesday occurred about 6 a.m. About 90 firefighters were dispatched to fight the blaze that followed, fire Chief Greg Ruiz said at a news conference.

Video showed huge flames, thick black smoke and three train cars in a park next to Tempe Town Lake.

Ruiz said crews were working to contain a leak from one derailed train car, and the liquid was going into a dry bed, not the lake.

None of the train's crew members were hurt but there was a report of someone suffering from smoke inhalation, said Tim McMahan, a spokesman for Union Pacific Railroad. He said he did not know how many crew members were aboard when the train derailed.

The train traveling from Tucson to Phoenix had 102 cars and between eight and 10 of them caught fire, McMahan said. Several carried lumber and the three that fell to the ground beneath the bridge were tank cars.

Two were carrying cyclohexanone, a pale and oily liquid that is toxic and flammable. McMahan said a third tank car was carrying a “rubber material" but did not provide further details.

McMahan said the tank cars were not involved in the ensuing blaze.

Investigators with the Federal Railroad Administration were dispatched to start a preliminary investigation. The National Transportation Safety Board will also investigate, officials said.

Fire witness Camille Kimball told AZFamily.com she was riding her bike in the park below the bridge minutes before the derailment.

“I turned around to look and got the fright of my life,” Kimball said. “Now there’s fire pouring into the lake from the middle of the bridge. ... It looks like a scene from hell, truly.”

The 2.5-mile (4-kilometer) Tempe Town Lake is is a popular recreation spot for jogging, cycling and boating close to Arizona State University.

Smoke fills the sky at the scene of a train derailment in Tempe, Ariz., on Wednesday, July 29, 2020. Officials say a freight train traveling on a bridge that spans a lake in the Phoenix suburb derailed and set the bridge ablaze and partially collapsing the structure.  There were no immediate reports of any leaks. (Daniel Coronado via AP)
Smoke fills the sky at the scene of a train derailment in Tempe, Ariz., on Wednesday, July 29, 2020. Officials say a freight train traveling on a bridge that spans a lake in the Phoenix suburb derailed and set the bridge ablaze and partially collapsing the structure. There were no immediate reports of any leaks. (Daniel Coronado via AP)

Credit: Uncredited

Credit: Uncredited

Smoke fills the sky at the scene of a train derailment in Tempe, Ariz., on Wednesday, July 29, 2020. Officials say a freight train traveling on a bridge that spans a lake in the Phoenix suburb derailed and set the bridge ablaze and partially collapsing the structure.  There were no immediate reports of any leaks. (Daniel Coronado via AP)
Smoke fills the sky at the scene of a train derailment in Tempe, Ariz., on Wednesday, July 29, 2020. Officials say a freight train traveling on a bridge that spans a lake in the Phoenix suburb derailed and set the bridge ablaze and partially collapsing the structure. There were no immediate reports of any leaks. (Daniel Coronado via AP)

Credit: Uncredited

Credit: Uncredited

Smoke fills the sky at the scene of a train derailment in Tempe, Ariz., on Wednesday, July 29, 2020. Officials say a freight train traveling on a bridge that spans a lake in the Phoenix suburb derailed and set the bridge ablaze and partially collapsing the structure.  There were no immediate reports of any leaks. (AP Photo/Pool)
Smoke fills the sky at the scene of a train derailment in Tempe, Ariz., on Wednesday, July 29, 2020. Officials say a freight train traveling on a bridge that spans a lake in the Phoenix suburb derailed and set the bridge ablaze and partially collapsing the structure. There were no immediate reports of any leaks. (AP Photo/Pool)

Credit: Uncredited

Credit: Uncredited

Smoke fills the sky at the scene of a train derailment in Tempe, Ariz., on Wednesday, July 29, 2020. Officials say a freight train traveling on a bridge that spans a lake in the Phoenix suburb derailed and set the bridge ablaze and partially collapsing the structure.  There were no immediate reports of any leaks. (AP Photo/Pool)
Smoke fills the sky at the scene of a train derailment in Tempe, Ariz., on Wednesday, July 29, 2020. Officials say a freight train traveling on a bridge that spans a lake in the Phoenix suburb derailed and set the bridge ablaze and partially collapsing the structure. There were no immediate reports of any leaks. (AP Photo/Pool)

Credit: Uncredited

Credit: Uncredited

Firefighters respond to the scene of a train derailment in Tempe, Ariz.,Wednesday, July 29, 2020.  Officials say a freight train traveling on a bridge that spans a lake in the Phoenix suburb derailed and set the bridge ablaze and partially collapsing the structure.  There were no immediate reports of any leaks.  (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
Firefighters respond to the scene of a train derailment in Tempe, Ariz.,Wednesday, July 29, 2020. Officials say a freight train traveling on a bridge that spans a lake in the Phoenix suburb derailed and set the bridge ablaze and partially collapsing the structure. There were no immediate reports of any leaks. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Credit: Ross D. Franklin

Credit: Ross D. Franklin

A derailed freight train burns on a bridge spanning Tempe Town Lake Wednesday, July 29, 2020, in Tempe, Ariz.  Officials say a freight train traveling on the bridge that spans a lake in the Phoenix suburb has derailed, setting the bridge ablaze and partially collapsing the structure. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
A derailed freight train burns on a bridge spanning Tempe Town Lake Wednesday, July 29, 2020, in Tempe, Ariz. Officials say a freight train traveling on the bridge that spans a lake in the Phoenix suburb has derailed, setting the bridge ablaze and partially collapsing the structure. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Credit: Ross D. Franklin

Credit: Ross D. Franklin

A derailed freight train hangs from a collapsed bridge Wednesday, July 29, 2020, in Tempe, Ariz.  Officials say a freight train traveling on the bridge that spans a lake in the Phoenix suburb has derailed, setting the bridge ablaze and partially collapsing the structure.  (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
A derailed freight train hangs from a collapsed bridge Wednesday, July 29, 2020, in Tempe, Ariz. Officials say a freight train traveling on the bridge that spans a lake in the Phoenix suburb has derailed, setting the bridge ablaze and partially collapsing the structure. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Credit: Ross D. Franklin

Credit: Ross D. Franklin

A derailed freight train burns on a bridge spanning Tempe Town Lake Wednesday, July 29, 2020, in Tempe, Ariz.  Officials say a freight train traveling on the bridge that spans a lake in the Phoenix suburb has derailed, setting the bridge ablaze and partially collapsing the structure.  (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
A derailed freight train burns on a bridge spanning Tempe Town Lake Wednesday, July 29, 2020, in Tempe, Ariz. Officials say a freight train traveling on the bridge that spans a lake in the Phoenix suburb has derailed, setting the bridge ablaze and partially collapsing the structure. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Credit: Ross D. Franklin

Credit: Ross D. Franklin

Firefighters try to put out flames from a derailed freight train as it burns on a bridge spanning Tempe Town Lake Wednesday, July 29, 2020, in Tempe, Ariz. Officials say a freight train traveling on the bridge that spans a lake in the Phoenix suburb has derailed, setting the bridge ablaze and partially collapsing the structure. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
Firefighters try to put out flames from a derailed freight train as it burns on a bridge spanning Tempe Town Lake Wednesday, July 29, 2020, in Tempe, Ariz. Officials say a freight train traveling on the bridge that spans a lake in the Phoenix suburb has derailed, setting the bridge ablaze and partially collapsing the structure. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Credit: Ross D. Franklin

Credit: Ross D. Franklin

A derailed freight train hangs on a collapsed bridge onto Rio Salado Parkway Wednesday, July 29, 2020, in Tempe, Ariz. Officials say a freight train traveling on the bridge that spans a lake in the Phoenix suburb has derailed, setting the bridge ablaze and partially collapsing the structure. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
A derailed freight train hangs on a collapsed bridge onto Rio Salado Parkway Wednesday, July 29, 2020, in Tempe, Ariz. Officials say a freight train traveling on the bridge that spans a lake in the Phoenix suburb has derailed, setting the bridge ablaze and partially collapsing the structure. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Credit: Ross D. Franklin

Credit: Ross D. Franklin

Police cars block off a street as firefighters attempt to put out a fire from a derailed freight train on a bridge spanning Tempe Town Lake Wednesday, July 29, 2020, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
Police cars block off a street as firefighters attempt to put out a fire from a derailed freight train on a bridge spanning Tempe Town Lake Wednesday, July 29, 2020, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Credit: Ross D. Franklin

Credit: Ross D. Franklin

Local firefighters attempt to put out a fire on a derailed freight train on a bridge spanning Tempe Town Lake Wednesday, July 29, 2020, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
Local firefighters attempt to put out a fire on a derailed freight train on a bridge spanning Tempe Town Lake Wednesday, July 29, 2020, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Credit: Ross D. Franklin

Credit: Ross D. Franklin

A derailed freight train burns on a bridge spanning Tempe Town Lake as part of the collapsed bridge bends in the foreground Wednesday, July 29, 2020, in Tempe, Ariz.  Officials say a freight train traveling on the bridge that spans a lake in the Phoenix suburb has derailed, setting the bridge ablaze and partially collapsing the structure.  (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
A derailed freight train burns on a bridge spanning Tempe Town Lake as part of the collapsed bridge bends in the foreground Wednesday, July 29, 2020, in Tempe, Ariz. Officials say a freight train traveling on the bridge that spans a lake in the Phoenix suburb has derailed, setting the bridge ablaze and partially collapsing the structure. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Credit: Ross D. Franklin

Credit: Ross D. Franklin

A derailed freight train burns on a bridge spanning Tempe Town Lake Wednesday, July 29, 2020, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
A derailed freight train burns on a bridge spanning Tempe Town Lake Wednesday, July 29, 2020, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Credit: Ross D. Franklin

Credit: Ross D. Franklin

Local firefighters attempt to put out a fire on a derailed freight train on a bridge spanning Tempe Town Lake Wednesday, July 29, 2020, in Tempe, Ariz. Officials say a freight train traveling on the bridge that spans a lake in the Phoenix suburb has derailed, setting the bridge ablaze and partially collapsing the structure.  (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
Local firefighters attempt to put out a fire on a derailed freight train on a bridge spanning Tempe Town Lake Wednesday, July 29, 2020, in Tempe, Ariz. Officials say a freight train traveling on the bridge that spans a lake in the Phoenix suburb has derailed, setting the bridge ablaze and partially collapsing the structure. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Credit: Ross D. Franklin

Credit: Ross D. Franklin

A derailed freight train burns on a bridge spanning Tempe Town Lake Wednesday, July 29, 2020, in Tempe, Ariz.  Officials say a freight train traveling on the bridge that spans a lake in the Phoenix suburb has derailed, setting the bridge ablaze and partially collapsing the structure.  (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
A derailed freight train burns on a bridge spanning Tempe Town Lake Wednesday, July 29, 2020, in Tempe, Ariz. Officials say a freight train traveling on the bridge that spans a lake in the Phoenix suburb has derailed, setting the bridge ablaze and partially collapsing the structure. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Credit: Ross D. Franklin

Credit: Ross D. Franklin

A derailed freight train burns on a bridge spanning Tempe Town Lake Wednesday, July 29, 2020, in Tempe, Ariz. A freight train traveling on the bridge that spans a lake in a Phoenix suburb derailed Wednesday, setting the bridge ablaze and partially collapsing the structure, officials said. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
A derailed freight train burns on a bridge spanning Tempe Town Lake Wednesday, July 29, 2020, in Tempe, Ariz. A freight train traveling on the bridge that spans a lake in a Phoenix suburb derailed Wednesday, setting the bridge ablaze and partially collapsing the structure, officials said. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Credit: Ross D. Franklin

Credit: Ross D. Franklin