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Grass fire causes traffic backups around town
grass fire pic
A train wheel sparked a grass fire near Taylor Road that caused a traffic tie up Wednesday afternoon. - photo by CARA HALLAM / The Journal

A train wheel sparked a grass fire Wednesday afternoon at Taylor Road that burned about one acre and triggered traffic jams at multiple intersections in town.

The grass fire was initially reported at 3:47 p.m. Wednesday as two fires in the area around Taylor Road and Taylor Court.

The first Turlock Fire Department crews to arrive found the fire moving at a moderate rate through approximately half an acre, said Turlock Fire Battalion Chief Bill Becker.

Additional engines were called to the scene to keep the flames from threatening any structures.

A total of 13 Turlock fire fighters responded to the scene, with additional support coming from the Turlock Rural, Keyes and Ceres fire departments.

The fire was brought under control in about 20 minutes and out within an hour, Becker said.

The cause of the fire was traced back to a rear wheel on a train box car, which malfunctioned and ignited the grass in several places, Becker said.

The incident prompted the railroad crossing arms at Taylor Road and Golden State Boulevard and Monte Vista Avenue and Golden State Boulevard to activate, which resulted in a huge traffic jam and eventually led to the closure of east and west bound traffic.