Locomotive catches fire while pulling cargo train through Steamboat
November 9, 2011
Steamboat Springs — A locomotive engine caught fire early Wednesday morning while chugging west through downtown Steamboat Springs. The blaze was put out by Steamboat Springs Fire Rescue a short time after an onlooker first reported the visible flames.
Steamboat Springs Fire Rescue Chief Ron Lindroth said the Union Pacific train was being pulled toward Craig by three locomotive engines when the diesel generator in the middle one caught fire at about 8 a.m.
A resident reported seeing the fire at West Pine Grove Road at 8:07 a.m.
Steamboat Springs Fire Rescue, Routt County Communications and Union Pacific worked together to identify a location west of Steamboat city limits where the train could safely stop and be away from the urban center.
The train arrived at the Duckel's crossing at 8:23 a.m. Firefighters were on scene by 8:30 a.m. and used fire extinguishers to knock back the flames so they could gain access to the engine compartment and finish off the fire with a fire hose.
Lindroth said no one was injured and that the locomotive is inoperable. He said Union Pacific disabled that locomotive and continued the cargo train to Craig later Wednesday morning using the two functional locomotives.
The railroad tracks were shut down until the train was able to continue its journey west, Lindroth said.
Lindroth said the locomotives burn diesel fuel to generate electricity, and the trains are powered by that resulting electricity.
Because some of the cargo train's cars were transporting fertilizer, he said it was important to get the train outside of the city and to make sure no diesel came in contact with the fertilizer.