It is currently Mon Jul 15, 2019 2:18 pm

All times are UTC - 5 hours [ DST ]




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 56 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4  Next
Author Message
 Post subject: Re: Feds sue Durango and Silverton over 416 fire
PostPosted: Wed Jul 10, 2019 8:14 am 

Joined: Tue Sep 14, 2004 7:52 am
Posts: 1643
Location: Strasburg, PA
S. Weaver wrote:
Watch it, you'll be subpoenaed as an expert witness ...
Only my opinion, and as you know, opinions are like certain bodily orifices, everybody has one and they usually stink.

_________________
"It was not easy to convince Allnutt. All his shop training had given him a profound prejudice against inexact work, experimental work, hit-or-miss work."
C. S. Forester

Strasburg Rail Road Mechanical Department


Online
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Feds sue Durango and Silverton over 416 fire
PostPosted: Wed Jul 10, 2019 9:35 am 

Joined: Sun May 15, 2005 2:22 pm
Posts: 1406
Yes, considering the involvement of the small, neighborhood group being self-organized as a volunteer fire fighting unit with pumps, water tanks, and vehicles, fronting the D&S right of way, with a stated mission to put out fires started by trains, in just this one tiny area—all of this does seem a little odd.

There are a lot of letters to the editor of the Durango Herald that express extreme animosity toward D&S. Their rage seems to transcend merely starting fires and goes to the issue of burning coal, spewing out visible emissions, and having too large of a carbon footprint. Their attitude could certainly harbor a motive to start a fire in order to blame it on the D&S in hopes of achieving the very result that we are now seeing with legal action threatening to shut down D&S.

One thing these detractors all seem to have in common is that they have insisted from the beginning that it is a fact the D&S started the fire, with their only evidence being that they hate D&S. Their opposition to D&S is that bitter and personal.

The neighborhood fire fighters have made it clear that they are friends of the D&S and that they love the trains. It is said or implied that this is why they protect D& S from starting fires.

Until we know how the fire started, no objective person without an axe to grind has any reason to jump to a conclusion about how the fire started. Yet the volunteer fight fighters (at least one of them) are now insisting that they know beyond a shadow of a doubt that the D&S train started the 416 fire. One of them recently interviewed in the Durango Herald, says he just knows it to be a fact. So what’s up with that?

The fire fighters claim to be friends and protectors of the D&S, and yet now they insist they know that D&S started the fire. Not only is that inconsistent, but the claim of knowing that D&S started the fire without any explanation of how they know that is just not logical.

If they claim to know for sure, despite it being impossible to have that knowledge, why is it so important to have a position on the matter that they are willing to unfairly reach that conclusion? There is something wrong when a person claims something has to be true because they just know it.


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Feds sue Durango and Silverton over 416 fire
PostPosted: Wed Jul 10, 2019 9:54 am 

Joined: Mon Feb 22, 2010 5:06 pm
Posts: 166
TimReynolds wrote:
I'd be interested in reading the complete filing to see the exact federal statutes and the liability provisions established by those statutes. For example 18 U.S. Code § 1856. Fires left unattended and un-extinguished. Now that is the criminal citation that permits the govt to fine and imprison you for not extinguishing your camp fire - fine plus up to 6 months in the pokey. Sans language such as "xx U.S.Code" this is a total civil proceeding where the fed is jumping in the game first to get the big settlement.

Now if it is a filing like you see in hazardous substance spills there is typically very specific language defining liability and determination of amount. The government has to fully demonstrate how the liability amount was determined and provide all documentation supporting the actual cash/expense amount. Having experience in this type of proceeding, the DOJ tends to not move a filing forward without having reached the point that a lawsuit is the only way left to settle the matter, and they have a solid case. The feds have almost unlimited time and resources to pursue this, and the D&S and Am Heritage Railways do not.
The Complaint is fairly bare-bones at only 7 pages. It alleges strict liability under Col. Rev. Stat. § 40-30-103, which provides that, “Every railroad company operating its line of road, or any part thereof, within this state shall be liable for all damages by fires that are set out or caused by operating any such line of road, or any part thereof, in this state, whether negligently or otherwise.”

_________________
Steve DeGaetano
Fireman, New Hope Valley Railway


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Feds sue Durango and Silverton over 416 fire
PostPosted: Wed Jul 10, 2019 10:34 am 

Joined: Mon Feb 22, 2010 5:06 pm
Posts: 166
Ron Travis wrote:
The fire fighters claim to be friends and protectors of the D&S, and yet now they insist they know that D&S started the fire. Not only is that inconsistent, but the claim of knowing that D&S started the fire without any explanation of how they know that is just not logical.
I'm not sure it's inconsistent--I love the engine I fire, but I also know that it can and has started fires.

Here is what the Complaint alleges (the paragraphs are numbered):

THE 416 FIRE

19. The 416 Fire began on June 1, 2018, at approximately 9:53 a.m., when one of Defendants’ coal-fired steam trains, bound from Durango to Silverton, was passing through the San Juan National Forest lands at a location called Shalona Hill, which is adjacent to a private residential subdivision called Irongate Way.

20. Evidence indicates that the coal-fired steam locomotive cast off one or more burning cinders or other hot material, and ignited a small brush fire next to Defendant’s railroad track on National Forest land.

21. Fire investigators located the origin of the fire as next to the railroad track.

22. Federal fire investigators found a collection of numerous, extinguished embers, cinders and ash particles on the ground adjacent to the railroad track, including at the specific point of fire origin.

23. Multiple eyewitness statements verify that the fire ignited adjacent to the track immediately after one of Defendants’ coal-fire steam locomotives passed the origin point.

24. The Forest Service and other agencies promptly mobilized fire suppression on the day the 416 Fire ignited.

25. The fire spread across the San Juan National Forest, and ultimately burned over 53,000 acres of National Forest land.

26. Firefighters did not declare the 416 Fire extinguished until November 29, 2018.

_________________
Steve DeGaetano
Fireman, New Hope Valley Railway


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Feds sue Durango and Silverton over 416 fire
PostPosted: Wed Jul 10, 2019 11:41 am 

Joined: Sun May 15, 2005 2:22 pm
Posts: 1406
Steve DeGaetano wrote:
Ron Travis wrote:
The fire fighters claim to be friends and protectors of the D&S, and yet now they insist they know that D&S started the fire. Not only is that inconsistent, but the claim of knowing that D&S started the fire without any explanation of how they know that is just not logical.
I'm not sure it's inconsistent--I love the engine I fire, but I also know that it can and has started fires.


What I mean by saying it is inconsistent is that it is inconsistent to be a friend of D&S and yet to jump to the unfounded conclusion that they started the fire. There is no need for the volunteer fire fighters to jump to that conclusion. If you don’t know for sure, why jump to the conclusion?

As I outlined above, I believe that there was a substantial motive for arson being the cause of this fire. Therefore, the fact that a fire started near the tracks at about the time a D&S train passed is only circumstantial evidence at best. So why would anybody jump to the conclusion that the train started the fire? The only explanation is that they desire that to be the cause, and they feel that outcome can be achieved by creating a consensus of opinion that D&S caused the fire.


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Feds sue Durango and Silverton over 416 fire
PostPosted: Wed Jul 10, 2019 12:18 pm 

Joined: Mon Feb 22, 2010 5:06 pm
Posts: 166
Ron Travis wrote:
Therefore, the fact that a fire started near the tracks at about the time a D&S train passed is only circumstantial evidence at best. So why would anybody jump to the conclusion that the train started the fire?
Well, the complaint alleges federal fire investigators linked the trains to the fire.

I'm definitely not a "fire" expert, but I'm certainly not sure how finding "extinguished embers" cinders and "ash particles" automatically point to a steam engine setting the blaze. I don't have enough experience with coal to know how large embers can be exiting the stack.

_________________
Steve DeGaetano
Fireman, New Hope Valley Railway


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Feds sue Durango and Silverton over 416 fire
PostPosted: Wed Jul 10, 2019 10:57 pm 

Joined: Thu Dec 12, 2013 1:26 pm
Posts: 90
I seemed to remember that years ago, some people in Durango were complaining about too much smoke drifting into town from the roundhouse. Wasatch did a study and offered some suggestions, I believe. Obviously, some people don't like the railroad.


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Feds sue Durango and Silverton over 416 fire
PostPosted: Wed Jul 10, 2019 11:41 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 8:51 pm
Posts: 1685
Location: Southern California
Stationary Engineer wrote:
Obviously, some people don't like the railroad.
That does seem to be the case. This has come up on the Narrow Gauge Discussion Forum a number of times.

_________________
Brian Norden


Online
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Feds sue Durango and Silverton over 416 fire
PostPosted: Thu Jul 11, 2019 12:16 am 

Joined: Sun May 15, 2005 2:22 pm
Posts: 1406
Steve DeGaetano wrote:
Ron Travis wrote:
Therefore, the fact that a fire started near the tracks at about the time a D&S train passed is only circumstantial evidence at best. So why would anybody jump to the conclusion that the train started the fire?
Well, the complaint alleges federal fire investigators linked the trains to the fire.

I'm definitely not a "fire" expert, but I'm certainly not sure how finding "extinguished embers" cinders and "ash particles" automatically point to a steam engine setting the blaze. I don't have enough experience with coal to know how large embers can be exiting the stack.


There were a lot of people complaining about the overnight smoke in Durango maybe ten years ago or so. Since the start of the 416 fire, there have been several letters to the editor of the Durango Herald calling for the elimination of the D&S RR. They are angry about the fire, and also just the burning of coal because it is the most hated fossil fuel. Most of these letters were written before the Forest Service announced their conclusion that the D&S started the 416 fire, and they all express firm conviction that they have no doubt that D&S started the fire. They don't need evidence. The just hate the railroad so much that they are certain it caused the fire.

I find it rather odd that, along with this group of bitter authors of Letters to the Editor, there is the group of neighborhood volunteer fire fighters who, just like the letter writers, are publically stating that they know the D&S started the fire. Beyond a shadow of a doubt, they say they just know it to be true even without any direct evidence. And what is odd is that, unlike the letter writers, the fire fighters claim to love the D&S. Yet, just like the letter writers, the fire fighters blame the railroad without having any direct evidence.

Then there is the Forest Service who also says they know that D&S started the fire. I do not believe that their so-called evidence supports their conclusion. Part of their evidence is that D&S trains have started fires in the past.

Clearly all three of these entities; the letter writers, the volunteer neighborhood fire fighters, and the Forest Service all want the D&S to be guilty of starting the fire.

It is easy to conclude that since a fire started along the track right after a D&S train passed, well of course the train started the fire, what else could have caused it? Somebody with an axe to grind with D&S could have lit the fire. That is what else could have caused it. And if that reasonable probability cannot be positively ruled out, then weak circumstantial evidence should not be enough to prove D&S started the fire.


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Feds sue Durango and Silverton over 416 fire
PostPosted: Thu Jul 11, 2019 7:28 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 5:01 pm
Posts: 108
Steve DeGaetano wrote:
23. Multiple eyewitness statements verify that the fire ignited adjacent to the track immediately after one of Defendants’ coal-fire steam locomotives passed the origin point.


This at first glance appears to be the most damning evidence but it leaves questions. First, if every train is followed by a fire patrol and the fire started immediately after the train passed, wouldn't they have seen it? Second, if you see a fire start don't you have some responsibility to do something about it other than note that a train had just passed?

Roger


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Feds sue Durango and Silverton over 416 fire
PostPosted: Thu Jul 11, 2019 12:06 pm 

Joined: Sat Sep 04, 2004 10:54 am
Posts: 887
Location: Tucson, Arizona
R. Hahn wrote:
Steve DeGaetano wrote:
23. Multiple eyewitness statements verify that the fire ignited adjacent to the track immediately after one of Defendants’ coal-fire steam locomotives passed the origin point.


This at first glance appears to be the most damning evidence but it leaves questions. First, if every train is followed by a fire patrol and the fire started immediately after the train passed, wouldn't they have seen it? Second, if you see a fire start don't you have some responsibility to do something about it other than note that a train had just passed?

Roger


Even if a fire patrol follows a train, depending on the humidity, wind and type of vegetation involved, it is entirely possible that a fire could spread beyond the ability of the fire patrol to contain it very quickly. Given the situation that the D & S faces, their best option is to convert every steam locomotive on the property to oil. Oil is comparatively cleaner and has a less of a tendency to start fires.

As for the previous fires that the D & S started and related facts, that information is admissible and will most certainly be used by the plaintiff to demonstrate that the continued use of coal fired steam locomotives presents an unacceptable risk to public safety and property. This is a civil case, so the standards for proof are lower than in criminal cases. The bottom line remains that coal probably cannot be part of the long term future of the D & S.

_________________
"When a man runs on railroads over half of his lifetime he is fit for nothing else-and at times he don't know that."- Conductor Nimrod Bell, 1896


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Feds sue Durango and Silverton over 416 fire
PostPosted: Thu Jul 11, 2019 12:46 pm 

Joined: Wed Jan 20, 2016 1:15 pm
Posts: 410
There’s a lot of coal fired steam locomotives operating in the world... the problem is not coal burning engines, the problem was the ultra dry conditions. D&S has publically said the plan is to operate the oil burning locomotive and diesels during dry conditions. Obviously a court decision could change that, but I’m holding out hope that coal will be around around Durango for generations to come.


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Feds sue Durango and Silverton over 416 fire
PostPosted: Thu Jul 11, 2019 2:53 pm 

Joined: Sun May 15, 2005 2:22 pm
Posts: 1406
Comparing coal-fired engines to oil fired engines; in very dry conditions, what is the probability of an oil-fired engine starting a fire as compared to a coal-fired engine?

I know there is less chance of an oil-fired engine starting a fire, but can that chance be reduced to zero, perhaps with some modifications? Or is the best result achievable more like the oil-fired engine being 25-50% as likely to start a fire as a coal-fired engine?

So the expression would be:

Oil-fired engine is _____% as likely to start a fire as is a coal-fired engine.

What is the number or numerical range, from zero to 100?


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Feds sue Durango and Silverton over 416 fire
PostPosted: Thu Jul 11, 2019 4:48 pm 

Joined: Fri Nov 11, 2016 10:17 pm
Posts: 38
I would think switching the entire operation to oil firing would drastically increase their fuel costs by a factor of 20 or more.


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Feds sue Durango and Silverton over 416 fire
PostPosted: Thu Jul 11, 2019 5:17 pm 

Joined: Sat Sep 04, 2004 10:54 am
Posts: 887
Location: Tucson, Arizona
CA1 wrote:
I would think switching the entire operation to oil firing would drastically increase their fuel costs by a factor of 20 or more.


Possibly, but at least they'd still be in business. The conditions there provide plenty of fuel, especially when the climate becomes dry. While many in the town of Durango appreciate the revenue that the railroad brings into the community, there are a number of locals who do not like the pollution that the railroad creates. The simple fact is that steam locomotives create air pollution-the only variable is how much. If we do not voluntarily monitor the air pollution that we create, we will inevitably find ourselves regulated by government.

Here's another straight out fact for the steam faction to consider. Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum (one of the oldest steam operators in the country) operates under an exemption from state and federal air pollution control standards. That is, in the region that they operate in, it is actually illegal for them to operate mobile sources of air pollution (in this case, steam locomotives). Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum only gets to operate steam because they have an agreement with the local air pollution control board-steam locomotives are not operated "regularly" and they are required to keep the smoke generated to a reasonable minimum. The agreement also has language that the exemption is revocable. I have known of firemen to be reprimanded for generating smoke unnecessarily and causing complaints. Under the authorizing statutes, Chattanooga's air pollution control board has the authority to assess fines and order offending operators to cease and desist. TVRM will burn coal as long as they are able to, but the fact that the 630 (when rebuilt) had some provisions for conversion to oil firing in the future included says something.

_________________
"When a man runs on railroads over half of his lifetime he is fit for nothing else-and at times he don't know that."- Conductor Nimrod Bell, 1896


Offline
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 56 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4  Next

All times are UTC - 5 hours [ DST ]


 Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Brian Norden, Ed Kapuscinski, Google [Bot], Kelly Anderson, Majestic-12 [Bot], o484 and 51 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to: