Huge flames overnight as San Jose train trestle catches fire

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- A train tressel that Caltrain and Union Pacific run on caught fire early this morning.

A handful of trains faced some major delays this morning, but Caltrain says they're back on track. The only issue now, they only have one track.

The flames were huge in San Jose off of McLellan Avenue and Willow Street just after 3 a.m. They could be seen for miles around. In fact, the fire was first spotted by a San Jose fire crew driving by on Highway 87.

A massive train trestle spanning across the Guadalupe River was burning.

"75-to-100 feet from the ground to the top where the train tracks are located. It's all heavy timber and it was a span of about 200 feet that was on fire," said San Jose Fire Captain Tremaine Thierry

It took firefighters about 45 minutes to knock down the flames. They had to be extra careful because the wood was soaked in creosote, a chemical used to prevent rot. That created a breathing hazard.

The good news was that one trestle made of concrete was fine, allowing for Caltrain and ACE trains to single track through the area. The damaged track is being evaluated, Union Pacific workers are checking to see what has to be done before the trestle can be re-opened. Caltrain uses that track, but says commuters shouldn't worry too much about delays.

"We've been single tracking through the area due to the Los Gatos bridge construction project so we've been generally single tracking in the area so we're not expecting it's going to be too much of a disruption from where we've been at," said Dan Lieberman, Caltrain spokesman.

San Jose Fire says they've responded to several fires in this area often involving homeless encampments. They are still investigating the cause of this fire.
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