Crews plan to extinguish fire Saturday night from train derailment near Arizona-New Mexico line

LUPTON, Ariz. (AP) — Crews plan to extinguish a fire on Saturday night from a freight train derailment near the Arizona-New Mexico state line that forced the closure of a stretch of Interstate 40.

Some wreckage has been removed from the tracks, but about 35 rail cars remain, including a half-dozen rail cars that were carrying non-odorous propane and had caught fire, said Lawrence Montoya Jr., chief of fire and rescue in McKinley County, New Mexico.

No injuries were reported in the derailment Friday of the BNSF Railway train near Lupton, Arizona, though, as it turned out, the derailment happened on the New Mexico side of the tracks.

About 40 people living within a two-mile radius of the derailment site remain evacuated as a precaution as winds carried away thick smoke and local firefighting crews responded.

“We are hoping we can extinguish the fire before midnight,” Montoya said.

Once the fire is extinguished, any fuel that isn’t burned off and remains on the site also will be contained.

The eastbound lanes of Interstate 40 are closed around Holbrook, Arizona, and the westbound lanes of the interstate are closed at Grants, New Mexico.

Authorities say people should expect long delays and look for other routes or postpone travel in the area.

No dates have been specified for when that stretch of interstate will reopen. Montoya said he expects the interstate to remain closed until the fire is put out and hazardous materials are mitigated.

The cause of the derailment is under investigation.