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Portion of bridge over Tempe Town Lake demolished after train derailment

Residents south of the worksite must evacuate from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. Sunday.

TEMPE, Ariz. — Officials from the Tempe Fire Department and Union Pacific said part of the bridge over Tempe Town Lake, the site of a train derailment on Wednesday, will be demolished due to significant damage. 

They will use small, precision cutting charges around a section of the bridge to demolish and remove a small portion, according to Assistant Fire Chief Andrea Glass.

The section is located on the south side of the lake between the lake and Rio Salado Parkway. 

Glass said the point of the demolition of this portion of the bridge is to keep the overall integrity intact.

The demolition will take place between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. Sunday morning. According to Glass, nearby residents and businesses will hear a loud noise "similar to an aerial firework."

Residents located south of the worksite are being asked to evacuate from 7 to 9 a.m. Sunday. The Westside Multi-Generational Center will be open at 6:30 a.m. for residents to go if needed until the work is done.

Tempe train derailment update

Watch live: Officials are giving an update on the train derailment in Tempe earlier this week and clean up efforts.

Posted by 12 News on Saturday, August 1, 2020

RELATED: What is cyclohexanone? The chemical that leaked during the Tempe train derailment and injured 2

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The third-party demolition company, contracted by Union Pacific, will lay metal plates down on the walkway beneath the bridge to try and minimize the damage done by the falling metal. Assistant Chief Glass did not identify the company but said it had around 40 years of experience in demolition.

Union Pacific spokesman Clint Schelbitzki said Wednesday's fire and derailment and a separate fire and derailment that occurred in the same place in June are both still under investigation.

When asked why Union Pacific would allow rail traffic over the portion of the bridge that was still being investigated for previous issues, Schelbitzki responded, "The causes are under investigation, and we have nothing further to add until the end of the investigation."

Two workers assigned to clean up related to the train derailment on Friday were exposed to a hazardous chemical, cyclohexanone, but now both are back to work, according to a Union Pacific spokesperson.

The third-party contractors were disconnecting a hose used to collect the chemical when they heard a pop and were splashed with the chemical, according to Tempe Fire. One worker, a man in his 50s, had his face exposed to the chemical and was transported to a local burn unit with serious, but non-life-threatening injuries. Officials said Saturday that the man was treated at a nearby hospital and released on Friday.

Another worker had his chest exposed to the chemical and was treated on the scene and not transported to the hospital. 

Tempe Beach Park is closed indefinitely as Union Pacific works to clean up the accident. Tempe Fire Chief Greg Ruiz said Wednesday it would likely be a "multi-week" process to clear the park for use.

RELATED: 2 workers exposed to hazardous chemical while cleaning up Tempe train derailment