Oil & Gas News

I-40 eastbound lanes remain closed after train derailment near Arizona-New Mexico border

The eastbound lanes of Interstate 40 at Chambers, Arizona, remained closed Saturday evening after a train derailed and caught fire.

Abigail Celaya and Madeline Nguyen |Arizona Republic| The eastbound lanes of Interstate 40 at Chambers, Arizona, remained closed Saturday evening after a train carrying propane and gasoline derailed and caught fire near the Arizona-New Mexico border on Friday, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation.

The eastbound lanes of I-40 were reopened from mileposts 285-333 after being closed due to the derailment, but they remained shut down at milepost 333 in Chambers, as announced by ADOT on Saturday evening.

Traffic was being rerouted onto U.S. Route 191 northbound, and ADOT recommended that travelers looking to pass through Arizona use southern routes, such as Interstate 10.

Segments of I-40 have been closed since Friday after a BNSF train derailed and caught fire on the New Mexico side of the Arizona-New Mexico state line near Lupton, Arizona, according to the Arizona Corporation Commission. The derailment occurred at milepost eight of I-40, according to the New Mexico State Police.

Roughly 35 rail cars carrying “mixed freight,” six of which contained non-odorous propane, derailed, McKinley County Fire & Rescue said.

Crews were planning to extinguish the fire caused by the derailment Saturday night, according to Lawrence Montoya Jr., chief of fire and rescue in McKinley County. Previously, firefighters were not actively attempting to extinguish the fire in order to mitigate existing conditions and ensure the safety of the surrounding community.

Evacuations have been issued within a two-mile radius of the derailment, and BNSF is currently working with the displaced, according to McKinley County Fire & Rescue.

There were no reports of injuries from the derailment, and fire personnel responded to mitigate the fire. Montoya said that while some wreckage has been removed from the tracks, the 35 rail cars remain.

Residents of Laguna, Acoma, Grants and Gallup were allowed to continue west past the road closure on I-40 with proof of local residency, according to a New Mexico State Police Facebook post.

Madeline Nguyen is a breaking news reporter for The Republic and contributed to this article. Reach her at Madeline.Nguyen@gannett.com and 480-619-0285. Follow her on X @madelineynguyen.

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