NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (AP) — A vehicle exploded at a checkpoint on the American side of a U.S.-Canada bridge in Niagara Falls Wednesday, prompting the closing of four border crossings in the area, authorities said.

The blast happened on the U.S. side of the Rainbow Bridge, which connects the two countries across the Niagara River. Three other bridges between western New York and Ontario were quickly closed as a precaution.

Photos and video taken by bystanders and posted on social media showed thick smoke, flames on the pavement, and a security booth that had been singed by flames.

Videos showed that the fire was in a U.S. Customs and Border Protection area just east of the main vehicle checkpoint.

Speaking to WGRZ-TV, Mike Guenther said he saw a vehicle speeding toward the crossing from the U.S. side of the border when it swerved to avoid another car, crashed into a fence, and exploded.

“All of a sudden, he went up in the air and then it was a ball of fire like 30 or 40 feet high,” Guenther told the station. “I never saw anything like it.”

The FBI’s field office in Buffalo said in a statement that it was investigating the explosion.

Governor Kathy Hochul said she had been briefed on the incident and was “closely monitoring the situation.”

The Niagara Falls Bridge Commission reported that all four of its crossings—the others are Lewiston, Whirlpool, and Peace Bridge—were closed.

Further information wasn’t immediately available on the cause of the explosion.


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