Coal car catches fire

PHOTO BY JACOB GURNEY Personnel work to put out a smoldering coal fire at the Norfolk Southern Railyard on CR 60 near Fostoria Friday afternoon.

FOSTORIA — Crews responded to a train car fire between TR 47 and CR 60 Saturday afternoon.

Assistant Chief Chris Daniel of Bascom Joint Fire District said there was no structural damage to the train cars and there was no loss estimate. He said the cars were hauling coke, which is used in manufacturing and is a byproduct of coal that burns very hot. Daniel said the coke is cooled before it is shipped.

“Sometimes it doesn’t get cooled enough, which causes it to build up heat, which is likely what caused (the fire),” he said.

Daniel said when crews arrived, the train was sitting between TR 47 and CR 60 and smoldering train cars were next to a Class 3 chemical car. He said personnel were on standby while Norfolk Southern Railroad personnel detached the cars from the chemical car. Daniel said while the cars were being moved to the Norfolk Southern railyard on CR 60, which took about 30 minutes, firefighters were setting up the department’s water movement operations.

Four cars were pulled into the railyard and three cars needed to be extinguished, he said. Two cars were “substantially burning” while another was “warm,” Daniel said.

Once the cars were pulled into the yard, he said it took about 30 minutes to extinguish the fire and Kansas Volunteer Fire Department tanker trucks and a Fostoria Fire Division tower truck were used.

“We used the tower to spray from a higher point into the cars … ,” Daniel said. “We basically flooded the cars with water.”

He said crews used about 13,000 gallons of water to extinguish the fire.

Daniel said nobody was injured and there were no environmental concerns.

“That was why we made sure we split the cars apart, to prevent that type of situation,” Daniel said.

Crews were at the scene until about 5:15 p.m., he said.

The fire was reported at 2:55 p.m. and Bascom Joint Fire District, Kansas Volunteer Fire Department, Fostoria Fire Division and Bascom EMS responded to the scene. NBS Fire District was put on standby, according to a Seneca County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman.