Railroad bridge burning in Salt Lake City will smolder for days

A railroad bridge fire which started Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021, has continued to smolder two days later. Photo: Gephardt Daily/Monico Garza/SLCScanner

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, Jan. 9, 2021 (Gephardt Daily) — A railroad bridge fire sparked Thursday night in Salt Lake City will continue to burn until at least Sunday, when railroad equipment required to dismantle the bridge is expected to arrive.

“After attempts to extinguish the fire and coordination with Railroad, Health Department and Waterway Officials it is determined that heavy RR equipment is required, says a tweet issued by the Salt Lake City Police Department. “This is anticipated to arrive Sunday.”

“Protection lines will remain in place, but the smoldering will continue until the bridge is dismantled,” says another SLFD tweet.

Captain Anthony Burton, Salt Lake City Fire Department, told Gephardt Daily the initial call came in at 9:08 p.m. Thursday.

Crews arrived at 1144 W. 200 South after accessing the area over Rocky Mountain Power property.

Railroad Bridge Fire
Photo: Gephardt Daily/Monico Garza/SLCScanner

Firefighters knocked down a grass fire in the area, and the largest flames on the railroad ties, but the ties continued to smolder, and flames flared up.

Photo: Gephardt Daily/Monico Garza/SLCScanner

“The tracks are covered in creosote, the dark substance the ties are soaked in to help preserve the wood,” Burton said. “You can also see creosote at the bottom of power poles. It’s an old wood bridge with tracks that are used daily.”

Photo: Gephardt Daily/Justin Anderson

The steeped in creosote, a petroleum product, continues to fuel the fire. SLCFD crews have remained on the scene, and Pacific Railroad and Health Department officials have also visited. The railroad bridge is over a waterway, so both water and air pollution are concerns, Burton said.



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