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Two people dead after vehicle explosion at Rainbow Bridge at U.S.-Canada border

Posted at 2:57 PM, Nov 22, 2023
and last updated 2023-11-22 15:23:27-05

BUFFALO, N.Y. — FBI Buffalo announced it is investigating a vehicle explosion at the Rainbow Bridge in Niagara Falls.

According to CNN, citing a law enforcement source, two people who were in the vehicle that exploded were killed.

The FBI said it is coordinating with local, state, and federal law enforcement partners in the investigation, and "as this situation is very fluid, that's all we can say at this time."

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has confirmed to 7 News it is also investigating.

ABC News reports that sources say that investigators have found some sort of suitcase or briefcase on-scene. They are treating it as a possible explosive device – as a precaution, and so the bomb squad is handling the package.

The vehicle explosion has closed all four border crossings in Western New York between the U.S. and Canada Wednesday afternoon. The Rainbow Bridge, Peace Bridge, Lewiston-Queenston Bridge and Whirlpool Bridge are all closed until further notice.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul said she is traveling to Buffalo to meet with law enforcement and issued the following statement:

“I have been briefed on the situation that occurred at the Rainbow Bridge in Buffalo. At my direction, the New York State Police is actively working with the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force to monitor all points of entry to New York. I am traveling to Buffalo to meet with law enforcement and emergency responders and will update New Yorkers when more information becomes available.”

Niagara County Legislature Chairman Becky Wydysh, Sheriff Michael Filicetti & Director of Emergency Management Jonathan Schultz released the following joint statement:

“Niagara County officials are at the Rainbow Bridge, along with multiple state and local agencies, with appropriate resources to support the investigation of today’s car explosion. This is a federal incident and the investigation will be led by the federal government. As such, we will not be making any additional public comments, as we will defer to lead investigators so there is a single point of communication to the public and media.”

In response to the incident, the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority is increasing its security system-wide, and the K9 unit will be checking vehicles.

The Buffalo and Niagara Falls airports are fully operational.

An NFTA spokesperson told 7 News it is in contact with the Transportation Security Administration and Homeland Security and it is increasing patrols for safety, there is no threat at this time.