Tour Commander, 509.625.7100
Monday, August 23, 2021 at 10:06 a.m.
On Thursday, August 19, 2021, at 9:39 PM, Spokane Fire Department (SFD) responded to a report of a fire onboard a Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) train near West 3rd Avenue and West Sunset Boulevard near Spokane's Historic Browne's Addition.
Responding to a non-specific type of fire, SFD companies arrived just east of the reported area to find a BNSF train stopped atop the 200-foot tall, 4000 foot long elevated rail bridge. One of the train's cargo cars was heavily involved in fire and located directly above Latah Creek.
Due to the immediate need to confirm the contents of the train car and its precarious location above a creek and watershed, SFD's Hazardous Materials Team (HazMat) was added to the incident to assist. As additional personnel arrived, firefighters commenced an organized and well-coordinated attack on the flames, while HazMat companies went below to protect the environment and monitor runoff. Additionally, representatives from BNSF were on-site with the Incident Command Team to provide data on the train's destination, contents, and capabilities. The contents of the train car involved in the fire were determined to be pre-burned trash.
The multiple team's efforts proved synergistic, with the flames extinguished in just 30 minutes. The Hazmat Team's monitoring, combined with the container's adequate capacity, mitigated the ecological impact and protected the watershed. There were no injuries reported as a result of the incident. The train was back into Spokane after receiving authorization and confirmed extinguished.
The fire's origin was isolated and destroyed one train car. The specific cause of the fire has yet to be determined.