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Investigation, cleanup to begin in Arizona train derailment

TEMPE, Ariz. — The leak of a flammable liquid from a derailed freight car in Tempe has been stopped and authorities said crews were getting ready to begin a long cleanup process Thursday.

The Federal Railroad Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board will be investigating the derailment.

Tempe Police Chief Sylvia Moir said at a news conference that “there is nothing to suggest” that the derailment was a criminal act.

A 102-car Union Pacific Railroad freight train traveling from Tucson to Phoenix derailed early Wednesday as it traveled on a century-old bridge that spans the man-made Tempe Town Lake, setting the bridge ablaze and partially collapsing the structure.

Union Pacific spokesman Tim McMahan said as many as 10 train cars derailed and the south side of the bridge then collapsed and caught fire.

Two of the tank cars were carrying cyclohexanone, a pale and oily liquid that is toxic and flammable.

One car was leaking the liquid into a dry bed, not the lake.

Authorities said the leak was stopped overnight when the tank car was hauled to an upright position.

There was another derailment in the same area on June 26 that slightly damaged the bridge.

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

Tempe officials said the bridge “was found to be in good standing.”

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