5-alarm fire destroys 10 trailers in Old Orchard Beach

OLD ORCHARD BEACH, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- The Maine Forest Rangers are investigating a 5-alarm fire in Old Orchard beach that destroyed 10 trailers at the Wagon Wheel RV Resort and Campground Thursday.

6 other trailers were also damaged. Old Orchard Beach Fire Chief John Glass said that a train sparked that fire, along with many others up and down the tracks from Old Orchard Beach to Scarborough. He was not sure whether it was a passenger train or a freight train.

"It is very unusual to have this many going for that period of time. Apparently, the fires were burning a little while before we got the information and they started getting reported," Glass said.

Patricia Quinn, the executive director of the Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority, said the Amtrak Downeaster did not cause the fire. The Downeaster train that was on the track at the time was inspected in Boston and showed no damage or other signs of being involved.

Witnesses at the campground said they saw two trains go by just before the fire.

"First we heard the passenger train go by and about five minutes later we heard an old freighter just hauling down the train track," Witness Cindy Rowe said. "You could see it was sparking. Almost immediately [you could smell] a burning tire smell. And we saw that the grass and stuff was on fire and that leaves and debris were on fire next to the track. It came up underneath the fence to the campgrounds here and went all the way up, started hitting the sheds. And propane tanks started exploding."

Rowe said a lot of campers just had propane delivered Saturday. She said most campers had full tanks of propane, which are located between the trailers and the train track. The tanks immediately started igniting.

"Once the flame was fueled with all that propane, everything is vinyl siding. Everything started melting. Black smoke started pouring," Rowe said. "[The fire] just kept on moving. Just like a grass fire. You see it all the time just like a forest fire when all the debris on the ground is dry and there's a wind, it just started going from trailer to trailer."

A Maine Forest Service helicopter dropped water where the fire was most extreme.

"[I was] terrified because I have two small dogs," Rowe said. "I grabbed both my dogs in keys and jumped in the car and left everything there and just hoping it didn't get that far."

We will continue to update this story as more information is confirmed.


To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment