PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A truck driver died after colliding with a train, which set off a series of tanker fires that shut down a bridge and part of a highway on Sunday morning.
A massive plume of smoke was seen for miles after the crash around 8:45 a.m. The fire quickly escalated to a three alarm blaze and numerous emergency personnel responded.
Fuel leaked underneath the parked train cars.
Portland Fire spokesman Terry Foster says the truck was carrying some sort of fuel product when the accident occurred.
Foster says eight train cars were damaged in the Sunday morning blaze, one severely. The rail cars contained asphalt.
BNSF spokesman Gus Melonas says the railways main lines were not impacted.
The fire prevented first responders from immediately assessing the crash scene.
Portland police later said the burning hot asphalt would take cool by around noon.
Firefighter Jesse Altig says there are no reports of injuries aside from the truck driver. Altig says nearby businesses were evacuated. He says the nearest homes are about a half-mile from the fire. Altig says firefighters used foam to quell flames, and nearby railroad cars were moved away.
Portland police Sgt. Peter Simpson said a half-marathon race in the area was canceled.
An early concern that there were chemicals spewing into the air did not materialize. Officials said the plume of smoke came from the fuel inside the truck that caught fire after hitting the train.