At 3:15 p.m., Tuesday, July 10 a Union Pacific train derailed between Twin Peaks Road and Avra Valley. Roughly 20 rails cars fell off and scattered across the train tracks and adjacent areas.
The derailment caused no injuries, according to Jeff DeGraff, Arizona Director of Media Relations at Union Pacific. Two crew members were on board, however they were at the front of the train whereas the derailment occurred toward the middle.
The cause of the derailment is still under investigation, although heavy rainfall and flooding likely played a role. Union Pacific will release an official announcement once a full examination of the tracks can be completed.
Northwest Fire District were the first responders to the scene, originally on the way to the area on a stranded motorist call, right around the time the train derailed.
“There was a bit of irony that we were already on our way,” said Brian Keeley, Captain and Public Information Officer for Northwest Fire District. “So it was lucky, we were right on it.”
The fire department’s role was mainly for hazardous materials management. Although haz mat crews were dispatched, no hazardous materials were found on scene, according to the Northwest Fire District.
The derailment obstructed two sets of tracks. The first set of tracks is now cleared and already has some trains passing through, in an attempt to prevent any further delays. Workers are still clearing equipment and containers from the second pair of tracks.
Because of the intensely busy day for emergency calls caused by monsoon rains, local agencies assisted Northwest Fire due to mutual aid agreements. The Marana Police Department, Tucson Fire Department, Golder Ranch Fire District, Town of Marana, Pima County Sheriff, and the Arizona Department of Public Safety all joined the effort.
“Public safety is a team effort,” Keeley said. “No one person could take care of all of this, it requires a network.”
Around 7 p.m. Tuesday evening, once the haz mat units okayed the area, the project was turned over from the fire departments to Union Pacific.
Union Pacific has no firm time of completion, and plan on continuing to work through the day.