The Rainbow Bridge has been temporarily shut down following a vehicle explosion incident near the American border inspection area that has resulted in smoke and fire. The local police, along with Niagara Falls Police Department and U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, have rushed to the site following eyewitness accounts of the event around 11:20 a.m. Wednesday, as reported by Niagara Gazette.
A captain from the Niagara Falls Police Department, who was rerouting vehicular and pedestrian traffic around the inspection area, did not comment on the event. He instructed a reporter to vacate the site citing a potential safety hazard.
According to the Gazette, two individuals who witnessed the incident recounted hearing a loud noise, resembling an explosion. They further claimed to have seen a large plume of smoke near the inspection station just prior to the police's arrival.
One of the witnesses, a tourist from Ukraine, Ivan Vitalii, was at a nearby 7-Eleven store when he spotted a car leaving the lot heading towards the bridge. He mentioned that he and his friend later spotted the same car aflame close to the bridge entrance.
We heard something shatter. We witnessed a fire and a big plume of black smoke, Vitalii explained.
A local resident, Dan Ziraldo, mentioned leaving the parking area at the Seneca One Stop, near Seneca Niagara Casino when he noticed a large, smoke cloud near the Rainbow Bridge. On approaching Rainbow Boulevard and Niagara Street, Ziraldo spotted a vehicle ablaze, giving the impression of a car crashing into the bridge.