Car explodes on the US-Canada border near Niagara Falls: 4 border crossings closed

NIAGARA FALLS, New York, USA — Two people were found dead inside a vehicle that exploded on the U.S. side of a U.S.-Canada border crossing near Niagara Falls on Wednesday, a security official told The Associated Press.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to speak publicly about the matter.

The event forced the closure of four border crossings in the area.

“This is obviously a very serious situation in Niagara Falls,” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in Parliament, apologizing to come out and be briefed further.

“We are taking this extraordinarily seriously,” he added.

The blast occurred on the U.S. side of the Rainbow Bridge, which links the two countries over the Niagara River. Three other bridges between western New York state and the Canadian province of Ontario were quickly closed as a precaution.

Trudeau said “additional measures” were being considered at border crossings and across Canada.

The FBI office in Buffalo indicated in a statement that is investigating the incident. Workers from the United States Department of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives also responded to the scene.

At Buffalo-Niagara International Airport, authorities began inspecting all vehicles and warned the public of more inspections.

Photos and video taken by passersby and posted on social media show thick smoke, flames on the pavement and a security post blackened by flames.

Videos showed that The fire was in an area of ​​​​the United States Customs and Border Protection Servicejust east of the main vehicle inspection point.

Mike Guenther said the vehicle sped from the U.S. side, missed another vehicle, crashed into a fence and exploded.

“Suddenly it jumped into the sky and it was a fireball about 30 or 40 feet high (between 9 and 12 meters)” Guenther told WGRZ-TV. “I’ve never seen anything like it.”

Ivan Vitalii, a Ukrainian visiting Niagara Falls, said he and a friend were near the bridge when “we heard something crash.”

“We saw fire and a huge cloud of smoke,” Vitalii told the Niagara Gazette.

The Secretary of Justice of the United States, Merrick Garland, and the governor of the state of New York, have been notified of the situation, their offices reported.

The Niagara Bridge Commission reported that all All four border crossings — the other three are Lewiston, Whirlpool and Peace Bridge — are closed.