The Rainbow Bridge has been blocked to all traffic following reports of a car explosion just outside the American border checks post.
Many different patrol cars representing different local police agencies, including the Niagara Falls Police Department and US Customs and Border Patrol, are on the site following the incident, which occurred at 11:20 a.m. Wednesday, according to the Niagara Gazette.
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“An explosion just occurred at #NiagraFalls Rainbow Bridge area,” one person reported.
A captain with the Niagara Falls Police Department who was directing motorists and pedestrians near the inspections plaza at the intersection of Niagara Street and Rainbow Boulevard said he couldn’t comment on the situation before telling a reporter that it was a “dangerous situation.”
Two witnesses who were in the vicinity when the event occurred told the Gazette that they heard a loud explosion and observed a massive cloud of smoke near the inspections station on Wednesday morning, just before police arrived.
Ivan Vitalii, a Ukrainian tourist to the Falls, said he and a companion were at the 7-Eleven convenience store in the 400 block of Niagara Street when they saw a car leave the parking lot and go toward the bridge. Vitalii and his companion went down to the bridge area, where they saw what looked to be the identical automobile on fire near the bridge’s entrance.
“We heard something smash,” he reported. “We saw fire and big, black smoke.”
Dan Ziraldo of Niagara Falls claimed he was leaving the Seneca One Stop parking lot outside Seneca Niagara Casino on Niagara Street when he spotted what looked to be a dense cloud of smoke rising from the area near the Rainbow Bridge.
Zilardo stated that he proceeded down to the intersection of Rainbow Boulevard and Niagara Street, where he noticed what seemed to be a burning automobile.
“It looked like a vehicle just crashed into the bridge,” he told reporters.
This is a breaking news story. It will be updated as more information is forthcoming.