Scottsbluff firefighters deal with railroad tie fire twice in less than 12 hours

Scottsbluff firefighters deal with railroad tie fire twice in less than 12 hours
July 10th, 2024 | KNEB News Staff

A cloud of thick smoke was rising over southeastern Scottsbluff Wednesday morning as Scottsbluff firefighters handled a railroad tie blaze twice in less than 12 hours.

The fire was located east of 9th Avenue on the north side of the BNSF railroad tracks, with a large pile of creosote-soaked ties completely involved south of the intersection of 11th Avenue and 7th Street.

According to Scottsbluff Fire Prevention Officer Chris Perales Jr., firefighters were originally called to the scene shortly after 8 p.m. Tuesday, finding part of the stack fully involved and a second alarm was requested for additional personnel. BNSF crews assisted by moving the ties that had been consumed or were still burning to a secure area away from the original pile, and once it was determined there were no additional hazards or risks fire crews cleared the scene a little around 11 pm.

Perales says around 4 a.m. Wednesday , Scottsbluff Fire was called back for a flare up, and upon arrival found flames in the pile that was not originally consumed by fire, and it was determined with discussion with BNSF personnel to let the pile consume itself.

By mid-morning, crews were relieved and equipment was put back in service with some personnel still on scene monitoring the fire. He says the pile was almost burned out, however was still putting off significant heat and fire. Perales noted there were still no risks to the public or surrounding homes, however the forecast for today states the wind will be variable for a few hours until mid afternoon where winds will be out of the east.

Scottsbluff Fire Department anticipates the fire caused about $10,000 in damages with the railroad, plus fencing and a boat being damaged on the residential properties.

Additionally, there is a lot of speculation on how the fire started on social media, Perales says the blaze is not deemed suspicious in nature at this time. However, he does say the cause remains under investigation, and anyone with information is encouraged to contact Crime Stoppers at (308) 632-7867, Scottsbluff Police Department at (308) 632-7176 or the Fire Prevention Officer at (308) 630-6227.

Perales says due to concerns about possible health impacts expressed over social media, they did have a representative from the Department of Environment & Energy on scene and monitoring the situation.


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