Sacto 9-1-1
December 23, 2010
Sacramento firefighters battling light-rail blaze when train pulls away

By Matt Kawahara
mkawahara@sacbee.com

Fire crews extinguished a fire on a light-rail train this morning, but their first attempt was foiled when the train drove away, a Sacramento Fire Department spokesman said.

Crews responded to the Regional Transit light-rail station at Florin Perkins Road and Folsom Boulevard this morning after receiving reports of an RT car on fire, said Fire Department spokesman Capt. Jonathan Burgess.

All passengers exited the train, Burgess said. Passengers had not been exposed to flames or smoke inside the rail car, he said.

Crews began to assess the fire, which was located on the undercarriage of the car and was producing heavy black smoke, Burgess said.

As firefighters were standing alongside the car, it drove away, Burgess said.

"It sounds like there was some sort of communication error or breakdown," he said.

Fire crews followed the train for nearly a mile and a half before it stopped again, he said.

"During that time, our fire companies were in pursuit," Burgess said.

The train stopped at the Starfire station near La Riviera Drive and Folsom Boulevard.

Crews extinguished the fire and called a Level 2 hazmat situation because of the electrical equipment involved in the fire, including the car's battery and generator, Burgess said.

The car likely started moving again after it originally stopped because it is standard procedure to tow a car with an overheating resistor grid to a location where it can be inspected, said Regional Transit spokeswoman Alane Masui.

The mechanic moving the car may have been under the impression that the electrical equipment under the car was smoking without a fire having been sparked, Masui said.

The mechanic stopped at the Starfire station after the Fire Department caught up with him, Masui said.

Fire crews extinguished the blaze and light-rail service resumed around 9 a.m.

Call The Bee's Matt Kawahara, (916) 321-1015.

KCRA: Regional Transit train damaged by fire

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