Lawsuit: Colorado Railroad Ignited Fires Prior To 416 Wildfire

September 26, 2019
File Photo. The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad.File Photo. The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. Courtesy photo / https://www.360durango.com/Attractions/durangoandsilvertonrailroad.html
File Photo. The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad.

DURANGO, Colo. (AP) — A federal lawsuit says nearly 50 fires in Colorado were ignited by a railroad company in the weeks leading up to a major wildfire.

The Durango Herald reported Tuesday that The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad caused the smaller fires along its tracks in the weeks leading up to the 416 Fire.

The U.S. Forest Service has filed a lawsuit seeking $25 million for firefighting costs.

The lawsuit says the company was responsible for starting the fire north of Durango that began June 1, 2018.

Fire investigators and eyewitnesses say a cinder from a train smokestack ignited the blaze during an extreme drought in Southwest Colorado.

Court records say train conductors reported four dozen fires along the tracks.

The railroad denies its coal-fired, steam locomotives started the 416 Fire.

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