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Scorched boxcars gone, but fire debris remains

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Posted: Thursday, November 30, 2006 10:00 pm

A set of boxcars near Beechnut Avenue and Tracy Boulevard was removed this week after sitting dormant for the past three months, becoming the subject of vandalism and two acts of arson.

Union Pacific, owner of both tracks and the cars, moved the cars Wednesday, but not without leaving an obvious trail behind.

Debris from two arson-related fires - one in October and a more severe fire in August - were left on the side of the tracks untouched.

"If it's debris from the incident, we would be (responsible)," Union Pacific spokesperson Mark Davis said.

He added that he planned to notify Union Pacific employees Thursday to clean up the tracks.

Division Fire Chief David Bramell, who responded to the October fire, asked a Union Pacific officer on the scene to have the cars removed more than a month ago.

"We want to establish an open line of communication so we can ensure that we don't have any railcars that sit there that long," Bramell said after the fire. "Cars that sit dormant with the doors open always invite this sort of vandalism."

Union Pacific workers also left behind piles of ties, rails and two pallets of welding mold, which is used to secure rails. The materials have already been vandalized and smashed.

The materials won't be there long, Davis said. "It's staging materials for work they're doing."

Union Pacific does its best to discourage vandalism, he added. "The safest thing to do is stay away from railroad property. If you're caught, you'll be asked to leave."

Contact reporter Danielle MacMurchy at danielle@tracypress.com.

First published: Friday, December 1, 2006

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