Fire near Frenchtown started by grinder train - ABC FOX Montana Local News, Weather, Sports KTMF | KWYB

Fire near Frenchtown started by grinder train

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A special train designed to smooth the rails sparked a series of fires last night near Frenchtown.

Thanks to a quick response from the Frenchtown Rural Fire District this fire was extinguished quickly.

A grinder train is designed to scrape the tracks, keeping them clean and safe for other trains.

During that grinding process, sparks fly causing firefighters to keep a close eye out.

It doesn't always happen, but there is always a chance of a fire when the grinder is grinding.

"We train every year for incidents like this our firefighters come up and train with volunteers and continue training so we are able to respond,” said Mel Holtz, Firefighter/Paramedic of Frenchtown Rural Fire District. 

Those with Montana Rail Link said sparks can go off when the grinder tries to remove hardened material on the rails.

They said in their press release they have water cannons to wet the tracks to prevent fires.

However, those with the Frenchtown Rural Fire District said with dry conditions and with railroad ties containing oils, the risk of a fire is high.

"Challenge for us our crews had to spend some time on and make sure those were completely out with the hot weather, we don't want those to reignite and spark back up and the winds to pick and have another fire,” said Holtz.

For the most part, Mel Holtz said Montana Rail Link does alert them about grinder trains coming in case of incidents like these.

Holtz added with grinder fires like these Montana Rail Link will come to assist.

Fire crews will continue to watch and mop up rail ties to prevent any more grinder fires. 

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