A malfunctioning train apparently set a series of grass fires along the railroad tracks all the way from Joplin to Carthage on Wednesday afternoon, according to the Carthage Fire Department.
Lt. Josh Roberts said Carthage firefighters were called to the railroad tracks crossing Fairview Road near the Schreiber Foods plant and to a section of track crossing Chapel Road to battle small grass fires caused by sparks from a malfunctioning train.
“Apparently this one train set about a dozen fires all the way from here back to Joplin,” Roberts said. “I’ve seen this a time or two before but never with this many fires.”
Roberts said all the fires were small and easily controlled, but getting to some of them was complicated.
Roberts said the train company told him one car on the train had a wheel brake that got stuck and the train dragged the car all the way from Joplin to Carthage without knowing it was causing a problem.
He said the department had to close the tracks for a time to allow fire trucks to drive down those tracks to get to the fires.
Schreiber employees with fire extinguishers helped fight the fires near Fairview Avenue.