4,800 homes evacuated as rail car burns
A tanker car of propane burns Tuesday in Lincoln, California.
August 24th, 2011
08:40 AM ET

4,800 homes evacuated as rail car burns

More than 4,800 families were out of their homes in Lincoln, California, on Wednesday morning as a railroad tank car loaded with propane burned nearby.

The tank car, loaded with about 29,000 gallons of propane, caught fire around noon Tuesday.

Firefighters were spraying the tank car with water to keep it cool but letting the propane burn off, Cal Fire spokesman Daniel Berlant said. Extinguishing the fire could allow a propane gas cloud to form that could cause further damage if it ignited, he said.

About 4,800 homes within a one-mile radius of the burning tank car were evacuated, Berlant said. Businesses within that radius were also closed, he said.

"The fire continues to burn. We're keeping it (the tank car) cool to keep the pressure as low as possible" to prevent an explosion, Berlant said.

The length of the evacuation depends on how long it takes for the propane to burn off, he said.

Berlant said the rail car had not derailed. It was sitting on a side track in a propane facility and was not connected to any other cars, he said.

The cause of the fire had not been determined, Berlant said.

Lincoln is in Placer County, California, north of Sacramento.

Read local coverage from CNN affiliate KXTV-TV.

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Filed under: California
soundoff (72 Responses)
  1. gung hoe

    Hey BERN whats wrong bud thats exactly what obama has done ever since hes been in office 3yrs and still blaming bush for everything

    August 24, 2011 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike kerns

      You people think you are smart. by repeating talking points that are given to you by fox or right wing radio. But news flash a caveman can do that also.

      August 24, 2011 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Burbank

      What has this got to do anything. Go spew your political hatred in a blog that's on topic for that.

      August 24, 2011 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
  2. gung hoe my butt

    The only reason Obama is blaming the previous administration is because for 3 years he has had to listen to the republicans blame him for the disasterous economy that started well before his election.

    Both sides are babies and the sooner people realize they've both done their fair share of damage the better off we will be.

    August 24, 2011 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Anomic Office Drone

    All those Lincoln Logs...

    August 24, 2011 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
  4. banasy©

    I've had to evacuate my home before.
    I got to go back.
    Relax, people.
    When the danger has passed people will be able to go back to their homes.

    August 24, 2011 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    George W. Bush's "Economic Policies" is available for reading in his own biography, READ IT.

    August 24, 2011 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
  6. jcbo

    Mr. Obama, inherited 2 wars, the worst recession since 1937, and an incompetent majority in congress. I think he has done quite well with the cards he was given . He can still blame Mr. Bush because Mr. Bush was indeed the cause of all of these things.

    August 24, 2011 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • obomo998833

      Need to check on the congrees. Not mistaken that the Democratic party had control when Obama took office. People voted them out at the next election.

      August 24, 2011 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Burbank

      Go play in a political blog. Your comments are innappropriate here.

      August 24, 2011 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Barack Hussein Obama

    The Tea Party did it !

    August 24, 2011 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • CTYank

      Did what? No matter, they've done enough damage with their strident screaming tactics in "town halls" and their incredibly amateurish behavior in the House of Reps. With Michele the chair of their caucus in the House, what more do you need to know?
      Idiots, impressed by their own truthiness.

      August 24, 2011 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
  8. lar

    Story has it wrong. There ARE several other tankers attached to the burning tanker making for a very dangerous situation.. Also the burning tanker is starting to melt so the likelihood of explosion has greatly increased.

    August 24, 2011 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • NAR

      This would probably be classified as a Non-Accidental Release (NAR). If the car was sitting still, it is possibly a seal failure in the bottom outlet valve. The rail shop where this car was serviced should be contacted to make sure they are using the OEM specified seals, the right size, material, etc and not some commodity offering. These things can be sensitive and everyone starts pointing fingers. Glad to hear everyone was evacuated.

      August 24, 2011 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Tiregal

    Our local paper her in Redding, online, states that they are now worried of an impending explosion. The tank is starting to melt...... Good Luck everyone. This isn't going to turn out well. The storage facility has approximately a half a million gallons of liquid propane and a natural gas line runs through it !!!!

    August 24, 2011 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Burbank

      That turned out to be an erroneous report, it's the gaskets that have melted and that's a good thing, it helps lower the pressure in the tank.

      August 24, 2011 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
  10. nikeD

    take a break from this nonsense! see if you can win a free gift card from todaysreview (dot) org

    August 24, 2011 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
  11. banasy©

    I truly hope that the people of Lincoln survive this intact; it sound by the comments that it is getting exponentially worse.
    My thoughts are with them all.

    August 24, 2011 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Burbank

      I'm about 10 miles from there, they have flown in experts from Texas to help put it out.

      August 24, 2011 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Burbank

    I live about 10-12 miles from there. According to a news conference about an hour ago there are anywhere from 170-500 THOUSAND (that's half a million!) gallons of fuel in the immediate area. If it blows the situation could become unbelieveably serious.

    I am sending positive energy that they put it out safely, it could destroy the enitire town. They have flown in experts from Texas overnight to help them deal with the situation. They are going to dig a pond to drain the fuel into and burn it off there. We will know if it's been sucessful by sunrise tomorrow.

    August 24, 2011 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tiregal

      I pray that all turns out well, but thats alot of liquid explosive. Not to mention, there is a Natural Gas Line that runs through there too. Good Luck, and God Bless

      August 24, 2011 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    Not banasy at 2:04.

    August 24, 2011 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Scott

    How does politics come into play here? Are people annoyed about being evacuated? Because if so, then you need to google BLEVE. It's an acronym for boiling liquid expanding vapor explosion, and it is serious business. If a BLEVE occurs on just one of those propane tankers, it will destroy everything in a one mile radius of the explosion. If the other tankers that are near it also explode, that can easily be pushed out to a 2 mile radius.

    Personally, you wouldn't have to ask me to evacuate because I'd already be out of there. Here's hoping all the responders stay safe.

    August 24, 2011 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
  15. common sense

    Last time a Texan was in charge the whole country went to Hell...!!!! Good Luck. ....

    August 24, 2011 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
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