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.
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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.