TACOMA, Wash. (AP) -- A spectacular railcar fire fueled by 30,000 gallons of spilled alcohol sent flames high into the air, prompting the evacuation of nearby businesses and halting traffic in an industrial area.
No one was injured in the Wednesday afternoon blaze, which started near a Burlington Northern Santa Fe tanker railcar. The cause was under investigation.
The railcar contained denatured alcohol, a fuel additive that made for a roaring blaze but did not pose any significant health threat from fumes, said Bill Dunbar, an Environmental Protection Agency spokesman.
Businesses within a six-block area were temporarily evacuated as a precaution, said Fire Deputy Chief Gary Schiesz. The main rail line through the area was shut down for about two hours and an overpass was damaged in the fire.
About 30,000 gallons of alcohol spilled and an unknown amount that did not burn soaked into the ground or the nearby Puyallup River, said Sandy Howard, a spokeswoman for the state Ecology Department.
The burning car was isolated from the rest of the 20-car string that included nine tank cars, said Gus Melonas of Burlington Northern Santa Fe. The alcohol was considered toxic and safety crews were checking for any effects.