COMMERCE (CBSLA) – A man was taken into custody after a stack of discarded wooden railroad ties alongside a stretch of Metrolink track in Commerce Monday morning caught fire, less than a block away from where a similar fire broke out last month.
Just after 7:30 a.m., a pile of railroad tiles at a Union Pacific Railroad storage yard sparked at Ferguson Drive and Saybrook Avenue, sending plumes of flames and smoke billowing hundreds of feet into the air.
Responding Los Angeles County Fire Department crews responded and kept the blaze from spreading to a nearby two-story commercial building.
The fire was suspicious in nature and a man was detained near the scene for questioning, the fire department said.
Metrolink Riverside Line service between the City of Industry and Los Angeles was shut down.
This is the second such blaze in just the past two weeks. In the early morning hours of Oct. 29, a stack of railroad ties caught fire in the 1500 block of Burrard Avenue. A small box of fireworks inside a nearby shed caught fire, sending fireworks high into the sky.
In that case, the fire was accidentally started at a nearby homeless encampment where a group of transients had started a bonfire to stay warm, the fire department reports.
A spokesperson for Union Pacific Railroad told CBS2 Monday that both piles of railroad ties were meant to have been discarded within a month.
A frustrated neighbor blamed the fires Monday on Union Pacific’s purported negligence.
“It’s unacceptable, Union Pacific has not been a good neighbor…I’m calling on city representatives and county representatives to do something about the relationship which we have with Union Pacific Railroad,” Commerce resident Joe Chaides told CBS2. “I understand that they have a business to run, but they still have to be cognizant and respectful of the neighbors, and making sure that the neighborhood is safe.”
The track is owned by Union Pacific Railroad.