Train Sparks Six Brush Fires Along Tracks in Villa Ridge
2/15/2017 9:31:03 PM
By Kyle Quick
VILLA RIDGE, MO. A train pulling empty cars from Union to the Labadie Power Plant sparked six brush fires along the tracks Wednesday afternoon around 2 p.m.
Boles Fire Chief Jim Casey says they were notified by a railroad official of the first fire which was behind their fire house on Highway M in Villa Ridge. Initially it was thought to have been an isolated incident.
Minutes later the railroad official returned to the fire house and said he had been in contact with the train conductor who said there were two more fires further up the tracks. Then minutes later the learned of two more fires, quickly depleting resources.
Casey said, “Additional fire units from St. Clair and Union responded, helping to prevent the fires from spreading.”
Casey said the fires were likely caused by the train engine. He explained that the track is rarely used expect to moving empty cars in storage to the power plant. “An older train engine was being used and because of the it’s age hot ambers were coming from the smoke stack, thus causing the dry dead grass to catch fire.”
Boles fire was then dispatched to a seventh brush fire unrelated to the ones along the tracks. There was approximately three acres involved.
There were no reports of property damage in any of the seven fires.
Midland Railroad owns the tracks that run from Union to the power plant.
Pictured are Boles Firefighters battling the seventh brush fire that was not related to the train.