Air National Guard F-16 crashes near Douglas, Arizona, sparks 'massive fire'

F-16 fighter jet. (Reuters / Lee Jae Won)
An F-16 jet from the Air National Guard has crashed near the town of Douglas, Arizona, the Air Force reported.

The accident happened around 8 pm, a spokesperson for the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base said.

It was not immediately clear whether the pilot of the jet survived.

The jet was with the 162nd Wing based in Tucson. It crashed some eight miles north of Douglas, Lieutenant Erin Ranaweera said.

Ian Gregor, an FAA spokesman, also confirmed the crash.

The crash happened near a major gas line and caused a rupture, Cochise County officials said. At least one home was reported to have been evacuated due to a rapidly spreading fire.

Eddie Gonzales, a resident who lives close to the crash site, said he and his family felt an explosion that shook the house at about 8.30 pm, the Sierra Vista Herald reported. He said after stepping outside he “saw a fireball, like a bomb.”

The report said the fire covered approximately the length of three football fields.

The local fire department has sent “mostly all of our trucks,” the dispatcher for the district said. The Douglas Fire Department has deployed multiple fire units and ambulances to the scene.

The US Border Patrol and local police are securing the crash site.