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'Scene From Hell' as Train Derails on Bridge

Crew survives Tempe derailment without injury
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 29, 2020 1:20 PM CDT

(Newser) – A train derailment, massive fire, and partial bridge collapse in Arizona left what one witness describes as a "scene from hell"—but no injuries were reported. Authorities say the Union Pacific train derailed and caught fire on a bridge over Tempe Town Lake in the Phoenix suburb of Tempe Wednesday morning, CNN reports. The south side of the 108-year-old Salt River Union Pacific Bridge collapsed and rail cars fell into an empty park below, reports CBS. Planes from the nearby Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport were diverted as thick smoke filled the air, per the Arizona Republic. Authorities say the bridge passed its annual inspection earlier this month.

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Camille Kimball tells KPHO that she was riding her bike under the bridge moments before it collapsed. "I turned around to look and got the fright of my life," she says. "Now there's fire pouring into the lake from the middle of the bridge ... It looks like a scene from hell, truly." The Tempe Fire Department says the train was carrying lumber as well as hazardous material. Union Pacific spokesman Tim McMahan says the cars that burned were carrying lumber, while the ones that fell to the ground contained a rubber material and the chemical cyclohexanone, but they did not leak or catch fire. The cause of the derailment and fire is still unknown. (Read more derailment stories.)

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