Fire damages Blue Island rail bridge ...

Fire damages Blue Island rail bridge over Cal Sag Channel

There are 16 comments on the The Southtown Star story from May 6, 2014, titled Fire damages Blue Island rail bridge over Cal Sag Channel. In it, The Southtown Star reports that:

Blue Island and CSX railroad officials are investigating the cause of a fire Tuesday on a bridge that forced closure of a pair of freight train tracks across the Calumet Sag Channel.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at The Southtown Star.

really

Melrose Park, IL

#1 May 6, 2014
I see school kids crossin that bridge for a short cut to get home everyday luckyly no one was crossing at the time but it could have been kids that started that fire bipd needs to keep on eye on that bridge nd make sure ppl aren't crossing that bridge
unreal

Chicago, IL

#2 May 6, 2014
90,000.00 a year and comments "It don't look that bad".
Closed streets, bridges and now rail routes.
WTF
The Bulldog on Main St

Blue Island, IL

#3 May 6, 2014
unreal wrote:
90,000.00 a year and comments "It don't look that bad".
Closed streets, bridges and now rail routes.
WTF
Yes the fire on a private railroad owned by a private company is somehow the city of Blue Islands fault. More specifically the Ritas fault. Jealous much? Losers
Damaged Rail Bridge

Maywood, IL

#4 May 7, 2014
Fire damages Blue Island rail bridge over Cal Sag Channel

By Steve Metsch

The fire was contained to this bridge and did not spread to others nearby, but thick smoke caused delays.
ARTICLE EXTRAS

Updated: May 7, 2014 2:13AM

Blue Island and CSX railroad officials are investigating the cause of a fire Tuesday on a bridge that forced closure of a pair of freight train tracks across the Calumet Sag Channel.

The bridge is north of Broadway Street and east of Vine Street.

The fire began in the mid-afternoon and resulted in large flames and huge plumes of thick black smoke, witnesses said. Smoke was seen as far away as Kedzie Avenue, Blue Island Mayor Domingo Vargas said.

That’s where he was when he saw the smoke and called 911. Someone had already called in to report the fire, he said. By the time he arrived, Blue Island firefighters and those from other towns were fighting the blaze.

Thick black smoke caused trains on other bridges to stop because visibility was so poor, Vargas said. Other bridges were reopened to trains by 4 p.m.

One resident, a retired train worker, said he saw a man on the bridge shortly before the flames broke out.

John Rita, Blue Island’s director of public safety, said that while had not heard that,“I’m not discounting it.”

Vargas said that he heard the report of “somebody suspicious in the area” and of “three juveniles ... again, were they curious or part of the problem? We don’t know.”

Officials were busy inspecting the bridge to determine if it is safe enough to carry the load of huge and heavy freight trains, or if the railroad ties or perhaps the entire bridge has to be replaced.

Firefighters from Blue Island, Posen, Midlothian and Calumet Park were among those that battled the blaze, Vargas said. They had help from down below, too. A passing tugboat helped extinguish the flames, Vargas said.

“It was great timing. They were pumping water up to the flames,” Vargas said.“They put up a hose and were attacking the fire from underneath the bridge.”

The flames had engulfed the bridge from about the middle to the northern shore of the Cal-Sag, Vargas said.

Flames flared up several times after the fire was doused, he said. The heat caused part of the rail to buckle, Vargas said.

Rita added “to the layman’s eye, it doesn’t look bad,” but inspectors will determine if the bridge is safe to use.

“I know no train is going to come through here until they check everything out,” Rita said.“I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s for quite a while.”

No injuries were reported by any of the firefighters, Rita said.

The closed bridge could prove costly to CSX as trains could be delayed and rerouted, Vargas said. The railroad company did not return calls seeking comment.

Vargas is concerned what it means for the residents of “a railroad town” well known for its many grade crossings on local streets if trains are rerouted to other tracks. Seven other tracks cross the Cal-Sag near that bridge, he said.

“Our concern is with this bridge not being used, what does that mean for other train traffic blocking the town on 127th, 119th,” Vargas said.“Normally, 180 trains go through town, at a minimum, every day. That’s just freight, not including the Metra trains.”
unreal

Chicago, IL

#5 May 7, 2014
The Bulldog on Main St wrote:
<quoted text>
Yes the fire on a private railroad owned by a private company is somehow the city of Blue Islands fault. More specifically the Ritas fault. Jealous much? Losers
Never said anything about fault. This is a comment proving the man is not fit for the position he is in and paid for. Your moniker says it all you call yourself a dog and you are a follower.
The Bulldog on Main St

Chesapeake, OH

#6 May 7, 2014
unreal wrote:
<quoted text>Never said anything about fault. This is a comment proving the man is not fit for the position he is in and paid for. Your moniker says it all you call yourself a dog and you are a follower.
And you can call yourself a loser because that's all you will ever be.
Greg121

Alsip, IL

#7 May 7, 2014
Well one bridge that will be repaired in BI
Greg121

Chesapeake, OH

#8 May 7, 2014
unreal wrote:
<quoted text>Never said anything about fault. This is a comment proving the man is not fit for the position he is in and paid for. Your moniker says it all you call yourself a dog and you are a follower.
Proves nothing ! Step up then if you can do better.
Just saying.
a thought

Midlothian, IL

#9 May 7, 2014
Wasn't the Division St. bridge set on fire a couple of months ago?
Do we have a problem with arson in BI?
We believe

Blue Island, IL

#10 May 7, 2014
The Bulldog on Main St wrote:
<quoted text>
Yes the fire on a private railroad owned by a private company is somehow the city of Blue Islands fault. More specifically the Ritas fault. Jealous much? Losers
M you are NOT a bulldog. Fact is if this isn't a City issue then why is the Safety Director, aka: City Manager position that we never voted for, making official comments? Three more years of wasted tax dollars! Come on election!
Interested

Lockport, IL

#11 May 7, 2014
Quoting a little bit out of context.

The actual quote is, "...to the layman's eye, it doesn't look bad...BUT inspectors will determine if the bridge is safe to use."

- when taken in context, the comment is 100% appropriate and actually reads that while people may think it's not too bad but we'll make sure inspectors get the final say on whether it will be used.

Rita goes on to say "I know no train is going to come through here until everything is checked out..." - again, seems to be saying safety before anything else.

So what is the problem? There may be far more reasons to critique Rita, his position, etc....but this surely isn't one of them.
Giant Sucking Sound

New Lenox, IL

#12 May 7, 2014
Sounds like Rita is about to pull a train.
bulldog in beatoff street

Munster, IN

#13 Jul 4, 2014
It has got to be bobby Rita's fault. That is the only rational reason it caught on fire. That is all

“2nd Time Trying Topix Account”

Since: Jun 14

Location hidden

#14 Jul 4, 2014
bulldog in beatoff street wrote:
It has got to be bobby Rita's fault. That is the only rational reason it caught on fire. That is all
I am confused. Who is Bobby Rita?

I know you guys have a John Rita as Director of Public Safety.

As for the rest, the Illinois Compiled Statutes Chapter 610 "Railroads" along with a few other laws make it quite clear that responsibility for maintenance and security of a railroad is technically the responsibility of the railroad company.

This does not mean Blue Island cannot and should not get involved once a crime or other public safety issue is present, but final accountability is the railroad, not the government.
Midlothian Poser

Blue Island, IL

#15 Jul 4, 2014
Midlothian Composer wrote:
<quoted text>
I am confused. Who is Bobby Rita?
I know you guys have a John Rita as Director of Public Safety.
As for the rest, the Illinois Compiled Statutes Chapter 610 "Railroads" along with a few other laws make it quite clear that responsibility for maintenance and security of a railroad is technically the responsibility of the railroad company.
This does not mean Blue Island cannot and should not get involved once a crime or other public safety issue is present, but final accountability is the railroad, not the government.
M.C.- quit being facetious by pretending that you don't know who Bobby Rita is. You know all about Illinois statutes, but you have never heard of the State Representative who resides just one town away from you? Nice try, but we ain't falling for it.

“2nd Time Trying Topix Account”

Since: Jun 14

Location hidden

#16 Jul 4, 2014
Midlothian Poser wrote:
<quoted text> M.C.- quit being facetious by pretending that you don't know who Bobby Rita is. You know all about Illinois statutes, but you have never heard of the State Representative who resides just one town away from you? Nice try, but we ain't falling for it.
Thank you for your feedback. Duly noted.

I know who State Representative Bobby Rita is. Was never pretending otherwise, but I can see how you might pick up that vibe. Apologies. Since your screen name suggests you are from Midlo, surely you can identify with troubles that stem from multiple people carrying the same last name, such as with Gillis. For all I know, there is a Bobby Sr., Bobby Jr. and maybe even a Bobby the Third or Fourth. Therefore, my seeking clarity by asking the poster who they was referencing was not facetious. I simply do not know how many Bobby Rita's there are.

Also, it is the idea that everyone in the thread seemed to be appropriately distinguishing the difference between Rita's until the comment I responded to. Bringing our State Rep. into the mix seemed a little disingenuous at best since it was John Rita who was referenced in the article.

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