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“A lot of smoke:” Amtrak train headed into Milwaukee from Chicago catches fire, no one injured

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Data pix.

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Another crisis for Amtrak: Just days after a train derailed in Philadelphia, killing eight people, a train en route to Milwaukee from Chicago caught fire as it neared the Milwaukee Intermodal Station. No one was killed or even injured in Milwaukee. All passengers were able to be safely evacuated from the train.

The train stopped near Barclay and Mineral. Where the train stopped provided a bit of a challenge for firefighters -- but they met that challenge.

The call came in just after noon on Thursday, May 14th. An Amtrak train's engine was on fire.

Amtrak train fire Milwaukee

Amtrak train fire Milwaukee

Rafael Pineda says he knew what was going on before firefighters arrived. He was on break near where it happened.

"We`re on Walker Street -- came out and I went and told the plant manager, 'hey, that don`t look right.' It ain`t like a cookout so -- it was a lot of smoke," Pineda said.

Below you'll see video of the incident sent in to FOX6 by Bob Halas.

Data pix.

There were 51 people on board. Ben Crouse was one of them.

"We were just heading into Milwaukee -- probably five minutes out of the station and the whole train, all of the lights shut off and all the sound stopped and sort of slowly got to a stop," Crouse said.

According to Brian Smith, a deputy chief with the Milwaukee Fire Department the train's engineer noticed smoke in the train's engine.

"When he noticed it, he immediately stopped the train and then began to maybe take a look to do some self-extinguishment. And once he realized that was not the case, he got off and got everyone off the train," Deputy Chief Smith said.


Again -- everyone was able to safely evacuate the train. No one was injured.

Firefighters used foam to extinguish the fire.

This was a situation that had the potential to be a much bigger deal than it was.

"In speaking with the engineer of the train, he said that they had about 5,000 gallons of diesel fuel," Deputy Chief Smith said.

The train was moved once the passengers were safely evacuated and the fire was extinguished.

Damage is estimated at $500,000 and the cause of the fire is under investigation. The fire occurred in the engine, but it's not yet clear what caused it.

The train left Chicago around 10:20 a.m. It is part of Amtrak's Hiawatha service between Milwaukee and Chicago. It offers seven round trips daily.

Google Map for coordinates 43.022148 by -87.909841.


  • Threepercenter

    Taxpayers lost $833 million over the last decade on the food and beverages supplied by Amtrak, which managed to spend $1.70 for every dollar that received in revenue.

    “Over the last ten years, these losses have amounted to a staggering $833.8 million,” said Rep.John Mica, R-Fla., in a statement previewing a House hearing today. “It costs passengers $9.50 to buy a cheeseburger on Amtrak, but the cost to taxpayers is $16.15. Riders pay $2.00 for a Pepsi, but each of these sodas costs the U.S. Treasury $3.40.”

  • Lets get politicals

    We better get democrats another few hundred billion in funding in order to train people to not go 106 in a 50mph zone.

  • William Jones

    GE make the best toasters around. This is a General Electric locomotive and they have a nasty habit of catching on fire, thus earning the reputation of being called a “toaster”.

    • Drew

      Amtrak should have kept their F40PH locomotives instead of switching to GE Genesis and butchering their F40s into control cars. Metra still has all their F40s and after 30+ years of service, most of them still run like brand new. Most modern locomotives are garbage and won’t run as well as an older one (EMD locomotives run better than GEs).

  • Newshound

    I remember back in the 80s, Amtrak was plagued by a number of problems, crashes and other issues. It became a joke among my classmates in school, making fun of Amtrak and wondering what their next accident might be. So this stuff is nothing ‘new’. Amtrak has had problems for a long time. What’s vaguely new is partisan Democrats and their media sock puppets saying it’s all the Republicans ‘fault’ any time an Amtrak crashes.

  • Serio Vitium

    Clearly the Republicans are at fault. Will no one stop them, or will they succeed in their plans to destroy every last train in the country? #warontrains

  • jpaq68

    Great, now every time an Amtrack does so much as run out of coffee, the democrats will whining about how this only happened because republican hate Amtrack. And coffee.

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