Freight train derails, catches fire near New Mexico-Arizona border causing road closures


A freight train detailed and caught fire, resulting in the closure of a nearby interstate, the Arizona Department of Transportation announced on Friday.

“I-40 EB is closed at milepost 357 due to a train derailment in New Mexico,” the Arizona DOT wrote on social media platform X. “Expect delays & seek an alternate route. There is no estimated time to reopen the highway.”

The train was carrying gasoline and odorless propane at the time of the derailment near Houck, Ariz. No injuries were reported as a result of the incident, according to New Mexico State Police.

Emergency crews were also on site to prevent the fire from spreading.

The cause of the derailment is unclear, and under investigation by BNSF Railway, notes The Associated Press reported.

“We’re monitoring the train derailment near the NM-AZ border closely – especially potential contamination from leaking hazardous materials,” Rep. Melanie Stansbury (D-N.M.) wrote on X.

Social media users described seeing the incident, with one X user writing, “Was crazy to see out of nowhere a fiery blaze shoot up in the sky.”

Friday’s derailment occurred just over a year since a Norfolk Southern train derailed in East Palestine, Ohio, and released a dangerous chemical — vinyl chloride — into the area. The incident, which thrust the railways in the spotlight, was only one of at least 29 occasions since 1968 during which toxic chemicals were released by a derailment.

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