Explosion prompts closing of four bridges between NY and Canada

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Rainbow Bridge between U.S. and Canada
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Crossborder traffic on four bridges between the U.S. and Canada in western New York has come to a standstill following a vehicle crash and explosion today at a Customs and Border Patrol checkpoint on the Rainbow Bridge.

The FBI Buffalo field office and other federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies are investigating a vehicle explosion, which occurred early this afternoon on the American side of the bridge.

As a result, all four bridges between New York and Canada -- including the Rainbow Bridge, Peace Bridge, Lewiston-Queenston Bridge, and Whirlpool Bridge -- are currently shut down in both directions. Border crossings in both directions have been halted.

The Buffalo News reports a long line of tractor-trailers can be seen on Interstate 190 near the Peace Bridge and Lewiston-Queenston bridge exits. 

Media reports indicate the vehicle was stopped at the U.S. border checkpoint but accelerated, struck an object near the Customs and Border Protection office, and exploded. It's also being reported by the Associated Press that the vehicle's two occupants died at the scene.

As a result of the incident, numerous public facilities, including the Buffalo Niagara International Airport, have stepped up precautions. Several government buildings have been closed and the Jewish Community Center of Greater Buffalo told its members that under recommendation by law enforcement, their facilities would be closed through the Thanksgiving holiday. 

Security has also been stepped up in New York City and Washington, D.C.