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News / Nation & World

Interstate near Arizona-New Mexico line reopens after train derailment as lingering fuel burns off

By Associated Press
Published: April 28, 2024, 4:13pm

LUPTON, Ariz. — Interstate 40 was reopened in both directions Sunday as fire crews continued watch over a controlled burn of remaining fuel from a freight train derailment near the Arizona-New Mexico state line, a local fire chief said.

Earlier evacuation orders have now been lifted.

“It’s all under control,” said Fire Chief Lawrence Montoya Jr., of McKinley County, New Mexico. “Our hazmat team is on site, along with our well-trained firefighters.”

Montoya, the incident commander at the scene, said the controlled burns were still consuming remaining fuel on some cars. He said no one was hurt in the Friday derailment of the BNSF Railway train near Lupton, Arizona, which occurred on the New Mexico side of the tracks, or during the subsequent firefighting operation.

For a time, the eastbound lanes of Interstate 40 were closed around Holbrook, Arizona, and the westbound lanes of the interstate were closed at Grants, New Mexico.

The New Mexico Department of Transportation reported Sunday that motorists should continue to expect heavy smoke in some areas, as well as long delays that could require them to seek other routes or postpone travel to the area.

Montoya said firefighters continued to remove debris from the area and that repair of the tracks was under way.

The cause of the derailment remained under investigation Sunday, said Montoya. He said investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board and other federal agencies were at the scene.