Mysterious train causes small fire


Photo Credit: Yoni Toledano

by Kate Casey, Managing Editor

A trail of brush fires spread alongside New Jersey Transit train tracks for a mile on Oct. 21., causing damages but no injuries.

Authorities say the fire was caused when train sparks ignited surrounding vegetation. New Jersey Transit did not initially claim ownership of the train until an investigation revealed it was a freight train carrying supplies to New York.

Glen Rock Fire Chief Jennings said that the train was “either malfunctioning or dragging something, but we are not sure yet.”

The fire spread a mile long from Main Street to Broad Street, but stayed within the town borders. The Glen Rock Fire Department called Mutual Aid and received assistance from the Ridgewood, Fair Lawn, Hawthorne, Midland Park, Paramus, and Wyckof fire departments.

Junior Noemi DiCori witnessed the fire in her own backyard. “The first responders were actually from Hawthorne,” she said. “Glen Rock didn’t actually ever show up to my section of the fire at all.”

DiCori was home alone at the time and recalled smelling a burning odor. She then went outside and immediately called her father when she saw the fire spreading in her backyard.

Photo Credit: Google Maps
The brush fire spread for a mile from Main Street to Broad Street.

“I couldn’t see the tracks anymore, it was just like a sheet of white because there was so much smoke rising, you couldn’t see anything that well. It wasn’t that high but it was spreading so fast,” DiCori said.

While homeowners waited for help to arrive, neighbors pitched in by using their gardening hoses to control the fire.

“While I was waiting for the firemen, my dad and I started hosing it down,” DiCori said. “Other neighbors from everywhere came to help put it out. We had to put rags over our faces because there was so much smoke.”

Chief Jennings said this helped keep the fire from spreading while the seven teams of firefighters organized themselves.

Luckily, the fire did not harm DiCori’s property, but there were reports of damages of homeowner’s fences and bushes and a light posts. There were no injuries.

“It was just panic. I saw a mom with her kids and they were so frightened because they didn’t know what was happening. We all thought it was a much bigger situation, but luckily everything was okay,” DiCori said.