6 Miles Of Fire: Blaze May Have Been Ignited By Train

6 Miles Of Fire: Blaze May Have Been Ignited By Train

5 April 2008

published by www.firefightingnews.com

Texas, USA — A grass fire that extended along about six miles of train tracks may have been caused by sparks from a passing train’s wheels, officials said. Firefighters from San Benito, Harlingen and Los Fresnos responded to the area, Director of Public Safety Orlando Garcia said. About eight residents were evacuated from nearby homes as a precautionary measure.

No injuries were reported, Assistant Fire Chief Juan Ramos said.

“There were three separate incidents,” Garcia said. “We have some individuals saying that they saw the fire start as the train passed by.”

Garcia said it’s not unusual for train wheels to give off sparks.

Ramos said officials would investigate the scene to determine whether sparks ignited the blaze.

The fire extended along the train tracks between McCollough Street and Williams Road, Ramos said.

It reached the CPL Retail Energy plant and burned grass along the property line, Garcia said.

The dry conditions and high winds allowed the fire to spread quickly but it was contained before any structures were damaged, Garcia said.

“It was unintentional, but we will contact railroad officials about this,” Garcia said. “Someone needs to take responsibility, especially when multiple agencies responded.”

The first reports, which officials received about 4:08 p.m., came in as an apartment fire at the Granada apartment complex in the 600 block of West Stenger Avenue, Garcia said.

When officials arrived, they learned it was a grass fire near the tracks and the blaze was contained quickly, Garcia said.

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