Railroad Fires Reported Friday


A rash of fires developed along the Norfork-Southern railroad line in the Parker and Berea fire districts Friday afternoon. According to radio dispatches the first reports of the fires started around 5 pm Friday (July 15) as motorists and residents called 911 dispatchers. The first reports stated small fires along the railroad in the areas of Pendleton Road and White Horse as well as Highway 124 and White Hose areas.


Firefighters from the Parker Fire Department and Berea Fire Department were dispatched. The first firemen on the scene requested additional trucks. The railroad company confirmed to Greenville County dispatch that they did have a rail break along that line and could be causing the fires. Firemen also reported the railroad had a tanker along the railroad that was putting out some of the fires.


By 5:25 reports were dispatched that fires were on the railroad along the entire line near Highway 253 as well as areas near Arcadia Drive. A request was made for more fire trucks at that time. By 5:42 p.m firemen cleared the scene near Highway 25 and relinquished command to Norfork Southern near Pendleton Road.


At 6:10 p.m the Piedmont Park fire department was dispatched to Rutherford Road near Piedmont Park Road where another fire had started on that section of the railroad. Thirteen minutes later those fireman reported a smoke investigation determined a small section of the railroad line had a small fire on the cross ties. They extinguished the fire and returned to their station.


At 7:35 p.m reports of thick black smoke was reported coming from the railroad bridge at Westside Avenue near West Sixth Street. Responders to that scene reported there was no fire at that location.


Three days ago railroad fires were reported in other parts of the county. In Kansas City three rail cars caught fire on a railroad there. And on Tuesday railroad traffic was shut down in Oklahoma City due to a fire on a railroad bridge where cross ties caught fire from a nearby grass fire. Cross ties are usually treated with creosote, a wood preservative which is combustible.


A national freight railroad strike was threatened last week. The federal government was formed a team of mediators to head off that strike.

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