Calif. Rail Car Fire Forces 5,000 Home Evacuation

LINCOLN, Calif. --

A one-mile radius was evacuated Tuesday afternoon in Lincoln for a rail car fire at Ninth and I streets, Cal Fire officials said.

About 5,000 homes were affected by the evacuation.

The fiery rail car has a 29,000-gallon propane tank.

From the vantage point at 6th and J streets, KCRA 3's Tom DuHain reported that fire crews were continously spraying water on the tanker to keep the gases inside from exploding.

Meanwhile, a relief valve on the top of the tanker vented gas and fumes, looking like a small rocket engine burning.

A potential explosion of the tanker car loaded with liquefied petroleum gas is an extremly dangerous situation, fire crews said. An explosion would send a shock wave and fireball rolling at ground level for blocks.

In addition, it would send large pieces of metal hurling through the air up to a half-mile away, just like a bomb.

The blaze was expected to burn through the evening or into early Wednesday morning, crews said, adding that the plan was to let the fire continue until the fuel is burned out.

One worker was hurt. He was taken to a local hospital, although fire officials don't have any information on his exact condition or injuries.

Highway 65 was closed from Fifth Street in Lincoln to Wise Road outside of Wheatland.

The following evacuation areas have been set up for affected residents:

  • Lincoln Community Center at Joiner Parkway and 1st Street
  • Club Lincoln at 830 Groveland Lane
  • Kilaga Springs Lodge at 1167 Sun City Blvd.

The Western Placer Unified School District was supposed to have its first day of school on Wednesday, but the emergency has postponed that opening. About 6,000 students are affected.

Lincoln police and the Placer County Sheriff's Department were at the scene and several local fire agencies assisted in battling the blaze.

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