Burning railroad ties caused billows of smoke over downtown Muskogee on Thursday afternoon.

Firefighters responded shortly before 2 p.m. and put the fire out by 3:05 p.m., said Muskogee Fire Department Special Operations Officer Lewis Brock.

The fire started in an open-top rail car on the Union Pacific rail spur, just east of Main Street, Brock said. He said the car contained old wooden railroad ties, and there was no danger of hazardous fumes.

He said the cause of the fire has not been determined, although Union Pacific welders had worked on the car earlier in the day.

Union Pacific Corporate Relations and Media Director Jeff DeGraff said a caller to the railroad's emergency hot line reported seeing the fire shortly before 2 p.m.

"The fire was extinguished by 2:45 p.m.," DeGraff said. "The fire was limited to one rail car, which was carrying used rail ties. Fortunately, no one was injured and no other equipment was impacted."

He said he did not have a cause of the fire yet. 

Reach Cathy Spaulding at (918) 684-2928 or cspaulding@muskogeephoenix.com.

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