1 dead in truck crash, fire near Portland rail yard

AP News
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Posted: Dec 13, 2015 7:50 PM

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The latest on eight tankers burning near Portland, Oregon ( all times local):

4:30 p.m.

Authorities say a fire that sent flames soaring 70 feet in the air was caused when a tractor-trailer hauling fuel crashed into railroad tanker cars filled with liquid asphalt.

Police say the truck driver died, and authorities continued to investigate the cause of the Sunday crash.

Firefighters say the crash caused fuel to leak underneath the parked train cars and caught fire. It burned eight train cars, but none leaked the liquid asphalt they contained.

BNSF spokesman Gus Melonas says passenger and freight service in the area won't be impacted.

The fire occurred on a side track owned by Portland & Western Railroad.

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11:28 a.m.

Authorities say the driver of a semitrailer truck died when the vehicle crashed on a roadway near a Portland railroad yard, causing a fire that sent plumes of black smoke over the city.

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 on U.S. 30 just south of the iconic St. Johns Bridge.

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.

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10:35 a.m.

A tanker fire burning in a riverside railroad yard is under control.

Portland Fire spokesman Terry Foster says the blaze was coming from underneath one of the six rail cars involved in Sunday morning's blaze. Authorities say the tanker fire material is hot asphalt and it will take about two hours to cool.

Foster says an exact cause of the fire is still unknown.

There were no injuries from the fire that sent plumes of black smoke over the city.

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10:14 a.m.

Authorities in Portland say six tankers containing tar or asphalt are burning in a riverside railroad yard near the iconic St. Johns Bridge.

Firefighter Jesse Altig says there are no reports of injuries. Firefighters were called about 8:45 a.m. Sunday to the industrial area along U.S. 30 just south of the bridge on the Willamette River.

Altig says nearby businesses are evacuated. He says the nearest homes are about a half-mile from the fire.

Portland police Sgt. Peter Simpson says the highway is closed and a half-marathon race in the area is canceled.

Video shows spectacular flames towering over treetops in the area.

The cause of the fire wasn't immediately known.

Altig says firefighters are using foam to quell flames, and nearby railroad cars are being moved away.