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NJ Brush Fire Investigation Eyes Report of Boys in Ravine



Investigators are looking into whether a report of boys in a ravine may have had something to do with one of the brush fires that erupted in New Jersey a day ago, spewing smoke for miles and wreaking havoc on commuter rails, according to a law enforcement source with knowledge of the investigation.

That law enforcement source said one of the boys reported in the ravine was seen lighting something on fire. It wasn’t clear what time that report came in or from whom, but that particular fire, in Matawan, drew a heavy emergency response to the area on Wednesday afternoon. The Matawan fire consumed an old railroad trestle near Park Avenue and Orchard Street, engulfing the entire rickety structure in a fiery spectacle that took hours to put out.

At the same time, another brush fire chewed through a wooded area in neighboring Middlesex County’s Edison, inching precariously close to a parking lot at times. Firefighters battled flames feet from railroad tracks, which unlike the Matawan case were operational, leading to suspensions and major delays for Amtrak and NJ Transit riders.

Multiple brush fires were sparked in different locations throughout New Jersey, making a mess of train travel and the rush hour as commuters look to get home. NBC New York has team coverage of what you need to know.

It took hours to get trains moving even close to schedule Wednesday night, as firefighters battled hotspots. That fire, investigators say, was caused by a sparking freight train. The train, which was running on its regular schedule between Metuchen and New Brunswick, was carrying construction and demolition debris at the time, owner Conrail said.

According to Conrail, the 13-car train was being pulled by a diesel locomotive (not using the overhead catenary system that powers Amtrak and NJ Transit trains on the Northeast Corridor line). The car immediately behind the locomotive caught what the company called a “hot carbon spark” from the exhaust stack and the spark triggered the Edison fire.


An investigation into the Matawan blaze is ongoing.

Source: NBC New York

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