The Norman Transcript

January 16, 2014

Official: Sparking train caused Edmond fires

CNHI News Service

EDMOND — Sparks from a locked up train wheel caused a number of fires along the railroad tracks running near the Broadway Extension in Edmond, a fire official said.

At about 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Edmond Fire Battalion Chief Doug Hall said firefighting operations had ended except for looking out for hot-spots, which included the area along the tracks between Academy Sports and Outdoors, 2501 South Broadway.

Hall said he is confident the fires were caused by a wheel that locked up on a northbound train in combination with the low humidity and strong winds. Citizens reported seeing the sparks, Hall said. Fortunately, the train stopped for a second train coming from the opposite direction, or the situation could have been worse, Hall said.

At 5:53 p.m., 12 mph northwest winds were gusting to 23 mph and the humidity was at 14 percent, according to the National Weather Service. Friday’s forecast called for a northwest wind of 8-15 mph with gusts up to 21 mph.

The fires were burning and spreading smoke during rush hour, backing up traffic along Broadway.

During the fight, Edmond firefighters and a service road were between the railroad tracks and Academy. Hall said the Fire Department deployed four brushpumpers, three tankers, one quint and one engine. Police officers were assisting with traffic control and other duties. Firefighters from Oklahoma City were also working in their jurisdiction, Hall said.

No structures were damaged, and other damage appeared to be limited to burned grass and several utility poles, Hall said. At one point, citizens had formed a bucket brigade to help fight a fire, Hall said.