Evacuations ordered after dozens of train cars derailed near New Mexico state line, some carrying propane

Apr 27, 2024, 7:39 PM | Updated: 7:41 pm

This frame grab taken from video provided by Bryan Wilson, shows a freight train carrying fuel that...

This frame grab taken from video provided by Bryan Wilson, shows a freight train carrying fuel that derailed and caught fire, Friday, April 26, 2024, near the New Mexico-Arizona state line, east of Lupton, Ariz. Authorities closed Interstate 40 in both directions in the area, directing trucks and motorists to alternate routes. (Bryan Wilson via AP)

(Bryan Wilson via AP)

(CNN) — Thirty-five rail cars of a train derailed in New Mexico Friday afternoon, prompting evacuations and forcing a 50-mile stretch of Interstate 40 to close.

McKinley County Fire & Rescue was dispatched around 12:40 p.m. Friday after the train derailed and caught fire off Interstate 40 near the state line. Six of the derailed train cars were carrying propane, according to BNSF Railway.

Evacuation orders were issued and remain in place for residents within a two-mile radius of the derailment and fire along the New Mexico state line with Arizona, according to an update from BNSF Railway.

Interstate 40 also remains closed in both directions and traffic is being rerouted, BNSF said. There is currently “no projected end to this closure,” said New Mexico State Police on Facebook.

A team of National Transportation Safety Board investigators is expected to arrive later Saturday. Once on site, their investigators will start documenting the scene and examining the train and equipment involved in the derailment, the NTSB said.

BNSF said air monitoring and fire suppression assessments are ongoing at the site.

Assisting those displaced

No injuries have been reported. BNSF says it is currently working with the residents displaced by the evacuations and will provide necessary lodging and accommodations.

“Along with all local public safety agencies, BNSF is committed to working within Unified Command while ensuring the community is safe and taken care of throughout the duration of the incident,” their release said.

Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg addressed the massive derailment in a social media post, saying, “We are coordinating across state, Tribal, and local agencies to ensure safety in the region. Please follow state and local guidance for detour information around I-40.”

Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs also took to social media to react to the derailment.

“I am deeply concerned about the train derailment along the Arizona-New Mexico border and am monitoring the situation closely,” Hobbs wrote. “My administration is in contact with Secretary Buttigieg and the New Mexican government. As we learn more about the situation on the ground, the State of Arizona stands ready to deploy the resources necessary to keep our communities safe.”

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Evacuations ordered after dozens of train cars derailed near New Mexico state line, some carrying propane