ASHLAND, MASS. (WHDH) - Commuter Rail traffic headed west stopped in its tracks on Monday. Brush fires around the rails, putting the commute at a standstill.
Home video shows fire after fire, four in total, lining the train tracks in Ashland.
Dan Jenkins shot the flames on his cell phone from his daughter’s back porch.
“We could see there was a fire, probably, almost a 100 yards wide—almost looked like a train was on fire when we first saw it,” said Jenkins.
Firefighters shut down the rail to run hoses across the tracks and put out the flames; this all happened during rush hour.
MBTA phone alerts and conductor announcements made commuters aware of what was going on in West Natick.
“After about a 15 minute wait, the train moved onto Framingham, and that was it and that’s when everyone got out and started looking to call Uber, a cab, get a family member to come get them,” said Larry Chancey, a commuter.
Initially, investigators looked into whether the fires were set, but the fire chief said they now know they were not started intentionally.
“Sometimes it starts from the brakes or any sparks that are created from the wheel hitting the rail, you know, the wheel of the train hitting the rail of the tracks,” said Chief Scott Boothey, of the Ashland Fire Department.
He said the sparks mixed with the dry brush, ignited these flames. It was not one fire that spread, but rather four separate sparks, causing individual balls of fire. The fires were out and the situation was under control within two hours.
Trains in the area are currently up and running.
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