POSTED: Monday, April 7, 2014 - 2:33pm
UPDATED: Monday, April 7, 2014 - 7:19pm
El Paso, TX (KTSM) — El Paso Fire Department is currently on the scene of a train derailment at the intersection of Doniphan and Talbot, along with a neighboring, serious condition four, three-alarm fire. At the height of the fire, flames could be seen for miles.
Doniphan is currently closed from Spur 16 to Vinton St. and TxDot is assisting with the street closure. Crews say that motorists should expect for the street to be closed anywhere from 4 to 6 hours, reopening no later than 9:30 p.m.
A witness at the scene reported to our crews that firefighters began going door-to-door asking residents and business owners to evacuate.
A representative with Burlington Northern Santa Fe has confirmed that the train involved was a BNSF lead locomotive that derailed at approximately 12:50 p.m. Two engines derailed along with one railcar. The representative with BNSF states that there have been no injuries and no spill hazard is involved.
Representatives from the El Paso Fire Department says that it appears that the BNSF train was switching tracks at the time of derailment, when the track broke and the two engines along with the single railcar came off the tracks. They remain upright at the scene and EPFD confirmed that no hazardous chemicals were involved, and believe that the rail cars were transporting sugar at the time of derailment.
Photo Courtesy: EPFD
Three crew members from BNSF were on board when the trains derailed, none of them suffered any serious injuries as a result of the derailment or subsequent fire.
EPFD stated that scrap metal and nearby brush caught fire. At this time EPFD does not know if the fire was related to the derailment at all, and they will continue to investigate until a cause is determined.
Two nearby schools in the Canutillo School District, Canutillo Elementary and Alderete Middle briefly suspended air conditioning services as a precaution, but district officials say that the air conditioning services have now resumed.
Parents of children enrolled at both Canutillo Elementary and Alderete Middle should expect some delays in the area due to nearby street closures. The district is re-routing buses, which may create some delays. The district urges parents be patient as they deal with the ongoing situation.
Canutillo ISD is also working with the Red Cross and has offered Alderete Middle as a shelter for any Canutillo residents who may be evacuated.