Train car on fire

Firefighters from the Tacna and Wellton Fire Departments responded to the railroad tracks at Avenue 37E and Highway 80 at approximately 4 p.m. Wednesday to knock out a fire on a freight car loaded with new pickup trucks.

Firefighters from the Tacna and Wellton Fire Departments were called out Wednesday afternoon to the railroad tracks at Avenue 37E and Highway 80 to knock out a fire on a freight car loaded with new trucks.

Capt. Donald Pelfrey of the Tacna Fire Department said they were paged out for a report of a train on fire at approximately 4 p.m. and immediately requested mutual aid from the Wellton Fire Department.

Pelfrey said once on scene firefighters found a freight car carrying eight Ford pickups fully engulfed, and firefighters started putting foam on the fire right away, trying to extinguish it as quickly as possible.

Eventually Union Pacific was able to uncouple the burning freight car from the rest of the train, and firefighters were able to cut a hole in the side of the car on the first level and make entry into it.

However, Pelfrey said it was too unstable for firefighters to remain inside and, using a ladder truck, they began soaking it down with foam and water from the outside.

"Once we made entry, we found the floor to the top level was buckling due to the weight and heat," Pelfrey said.

The fire caused eight other trains to be delayed for a total of three 3 hours. Pelfrey said firefighters used an estimated 35,000 to 40,000 gallons of water putting out the fire.

"We dumped massive amounts of water on it," Pelfrey said.

There were no reports of any injuries, and the cause of the fire is under investigation by Union Pacific.

James Gilbert can be reached at jgilbert@yumasun.com or 539-6854. Find him on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/YSJamesGilbert or on Twitter @YSJamesGilbert.

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