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Train car bursts into flames in Orange

ORANGE — Firefighters from around the county raced to the scene of a burning railroad car Wednesday night.

A freight car full of old railroad ties burst into flames as the train neared the town’s wastewater treatment plant, off West Main Street. Several people in the area called the Fire Department as they saw the flames light up the night sky.

“We had tons of calls come in,” said Fire Chief Dennis Annear. “By the time we arrived, the whole car was in flames, as high as 8 feet above the car.”

Multiple surrounding departments were called to the scene with tankers, in case the water supply at the dead-end hydrant proved not to be enough, said Annear.

The hydrant sufficed, however, and firefighters were able to get the fire under control in short order, said the chief.

Annaer said the Depart-ment of Environmental Protection was called in to determine whether runoff from the train was hazardous.

Train service was halted when the fire was called in, and the railroad is working to get the train moving again, Annear said.

Though the flaming freight car was the first car behind the engine, workers disconnected the locomotive and moved it to safety, preventing damage to it, Annear said.

The chief said the railroad was sending a new train crew out at about 10 p.m., to re-hook the engine and continue on with the train.

The fire was contained to a single car, and no structures were endangered, Annear said.

Firefighters from Athol, Erving, Warwick and New Salem were called to the scene to assist. Dispatchers said the Phillipston and Royalston fire departments were also called in, but canceled en route.

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