Grass fire burns railroad ties at ammo plant

Grass fire burns railroad ties at ammo plant

05 January 2011

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USA — The McAlester Army Ammunition Plant’s fire department responded to a grass fire at 3:21 p.m. on Monday which resulted in the loss of a stockpile of railroad ties.

The fire, which was started by an operating locomotive, covered about 20 acres along approximately one mile of track. There were no injuries or fatalities. The fire was declared contained at 6 p.m. on Monday but was still smoldering this morning and is being monitored by the McAAP fire agency.

McAAP has about 210 miles of railroad tracks.

McAlester Army Ammunition Plant firefighters Doyle Mitchell, left, and Spec. Amanda Lainberger
 spray water on a stockpile of railroad ties during a grass fire Monday at the ammunition plant.
The fire was caused by an operating locomotive. There were no fatalities or injuries.

Twenty McAAP firefighters, including four who were called back to duty, engaged the blaze using water and foam from six wildfire units and two pumper trucks. Several other independent fires broke out which were quickly contained.

Five buildings and at least six box cars were threatened by the grass fire. A single 500-square foot building already scheduled for demolition caught on fire but was extinguished. The coordinated effort of MCAAP’s fire department, railroad crews and roads and grounds personnel prevented the fire from causing any further damage. The fire was contained and presented no danger to the plant’s personnel and the communities surrounding the installation.

“The constant training of our firefighters was clearly demonstrated today,” McAAP Fire Chief Don Capps said on Monday. “What could have been much more serious, was prevented due to the professionalism and dedication of our firefighters,” he said.

Commanding Officer Col. Timothy Beckner praised the courage and professionalism of MCAAP’s firefighters.

“I can’t say enough about how quickly the firefighters responded to the incident and despite the danger, remained cool and calm, a true testament to their training and preparedness,” he said.

The incident is under investigation.

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