PEARL RIVER, La. – A massive train fire in Pearl River mostly self-extinguished due to the heating up of a coolant tank, according to St. Tammany Fire Protection District No. 11.
Around 7:38 p.m. on Sunday, the fire district and the Pearl River Police Department responded to the area of old U.S. Highway 11 near Interstate-59 exit 5B. Norfolk Southern, who owns the locomotive, reported the incident.
While en route, units could see a dark plume of smoke, STFPD said.
The train had stopped approximately 1,000 feet north of the Highway 11 railroad crossing, which made it difficult to access the train with firefighting equipment. After deploying a fire hose, extra manpower and resources were requested from St. Tammany Fire Protection District No. 1, fire officials said.
The fire had for the most part self extinguished, so only small amounts of water were needed to extinguish the remaining hotspots. The coolant tank had heated up, which released steam and its content fortunately extinguished a majority of the fire, STFPD said.
The cargo train was pulled by two locomotives, and the fire was isolated to the engine compartment of the first.
The exact reason as to why the fire began is under investigation, fire officials said.
The train was backed up to the Highway 3081 and Pump Slough Road railroad crossing by the second locomotive. After being checked for additional fire, the train was cleared by the railroad and Norfolk Southern officials.
No injuries or major traffic concerns resulted from the fire. No evacuations were necessary since a majority of the fire was extinguished moments after personnel arrived, STFPD said.
The possibility of a greater fire did exist because the cars nearest the locomotive were stocked with cooking oil and diesel, officials said.
(Video courtesy of Kirk Lee Jacobs and St. Tammany Fire Protection District No. 11)