Freight Train Carrying Hazardous Materials Derails in Arizona


A freight train carrying hazardous materials derailed in western Arizona on Wednesday evening, an official said.

Anita Mortensen, a spokeswoman for the Mohave County Sheriff’s Office, said the train derailed near the town of Topock, close to the state’s border with California and Nevada, and that she was not aware of any spills or leaks.

Ms. Mortensen said it was after 8 p.m. when she first received word of the crash, which she said happened at a location where the tracks ran parallel to Interstate 40. She had no details about how many cars were on the train, or what materials it had been carrying when it derailed.

She said the sheriff’s office had notified the National Transportation Safety Board and the railroad company BNSF, the two entities that she said would be responding to the accident. Neither replied immediately to requests for comment on Wednesday night.

Topock had been under a tornado warning until early Wednesday evening, according to the National Weather Service. It was not yet clear if bad weather had played any role in the accident.

In early February, a train operated by Norfolk Southern that was carrying toxic chemicals derailed in eastern Ohio, igniting a fire that covered the town of East Palestine in smoke. That set off evacuation orders, school and road closures, and a national conversation about railroad safety.

Another Norfolk Southern train derailed in Ohio on March 4. No hazardous materials were involved, but the derailment deepened concerns about rail safety and about the company’s performance.

On Tuesday, the Ohio attorney general filed a federal lawsuit against Norfolk Southern, charging that the East Palestine derailment was a product of the company’s negligence and recklessness.

The company’s chief executive, Alan H. Shaw, told Congress last week that he was “deeply sorry” for the effects of the February accident. But he stopped short of promising to pay for long-term damage to the community, and he declined to endorse bipartisan rail safety legislation that had been proposed in the Senate days earlier.

This is a developing story.