July 29 - Train derailment, fire and bridge collapse at Tempe Town Lake

A freight train derailed on a bridge over Tempe Town Lake early the morning of Wednesday, July 29. The  wreck sparked a massive fire with huge smoke plume that was visible for miles. It also caused the bridge to partially collapse. One witness described it as "a scene from hell." 

Two workers were exposed to toxic chemicals leaking from a couple of the derailed cars.

It was the second train derailment in that area in less than a month.

🗎/► Investigators working to find cause of train derailment, bridge collapse in Tempe

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After the damaged portion of the bridge was demolished, Union Pacific repaired the track. It was back open two weeks after the derailment

The National Transportation Safety Board released its preliminary report on the accident in early September. Investigators found no evidence of criminal activity or sabotage.

PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) – The National Transportation Safety Board on Thursday released its preliminary report on the train derailment that took out a portion of the Salt River Bridge in Tempe on July 29. According to the report, no criminal activity was found by the FBI. The agency also determined that the train was going 23 mph at the time of the derailment. Damage is estimated at between $8 million and $10 million.

Investigators working to find cause of train derailment, bridge collapse in Tempe

The accident happened shortly after 6 a.m. on Wednesday, July 29, sparking a massive fire on the bridge. Sky Harbor International Airport diverted air traffic because of the thick black smoke pumped out by the fire. 

That wreck was the second derailment in that area in less than a month.

According to the NTSB report, the Union Pacific train was more nearly 7,000 feet long (about 1.3 miles) and comprised of three locomotives and 97 mixed-freight cars. Eight of those cars were empty. It was the 49th car that derailed. A total of 12 cars went off the track. Three of the tanks were loaded with hazardous cargo. Two of them fell off the trestle and leaked.

One emergency responder suffered smoke inhalation but no other injuries were reported.

The NTSB has not determined the cause of the derailment and is continuing its investigation, including looking at the train's event recorder and video captured by a front-facing camera.

Union Pacific, which is responsible for maintaining the Salt River Bridge, demolished the damaged portion of the damaged bridge the weekend after the crash. It had trains rolling again within two weeks.

Train rolls across Tempe bridge two weeks after derailment, bridge collapse, fire

MORE TEMPE TRAIN DERAILMENT STORIES

Damaged portion of bridge at Tempe Town Lake demolished Sunday
Tempe Beach Park reopens amid train derailment cleanup
2 workers exposed to toxic chemical at Tempe derailment, local emergency declared
Partially-collapsed bridge over Tempe Town Lake an important gateway for freight
Union Pacific: Inspection showed railway bridge 'in good standing' before Tempe derailment
 

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