A fire that started in an area near the San Joaquin River in north Fresno is believed to have been started by a passing train, Battalion Chief Javier Lara said.
Around 8:30 p.m., firefighters were dispatched to the area of Herndon and Highway 99 for a report of a fire near the railroad tracks. When crews arrived, they spotted fire along the tracks and a longer stretch of fire at the river bottom.
Lara said four engines and a water tender were battling the fire, which was contained by 10:24 p.m.
The fire is being investigated, but Lara said witnesses told investigators that the cause is believed to be a passing train that produced sparks as it rolled by the river.
When fire crews had arrived, the train was long gone.
“We couldn’t tell what it was,” Lara said, explaining that it was hard to tell whether the sparks came from a rail car or if it was caused by metal to metal contact as it passed by the river.
The fire burned only 2 1/2 acres of vegetation but jumped the line into Madera County. It’s unknown at this time how much area was burned on that side.
No major damages were reported.