Two suspicious fires break out by railroad tracks in SLO

October 11, 2018

San Luis Obispo firefighters suspect a person started two fires that broke out near the railroad tracks in southern SLO Wednesday evening. [KSBY]

At about 7:15 p.m., fires were reported burning on both the north and south sides of where the railroad tracks intersect Orcutt Road. The blazes started about a quarter mile apart from one another during a time in which no trains were passing through the area, Fire Battalion Chief Bob Bisson said.

Trash and debris along the railroad tracks caught fire as a result of the blazes. The fire on the north side of the tracks burned a debris pile that also included what appeared to be an oxygen-acetylene tank that would be associated with a small welding rig, Bisson said.

Firefighters managed to quickly contain and then extinguish the blazes.

One commercial building in the area sustained smoke damage. The railroad tracks did not sustain any significant damage.

At the time the fires broke out, railroad company crews were working along the tracks. Firefighters notified them of the situation, and there were no reports of any injuries.

On Thursday morning, firefighters will take a closer look at the debris piles that burned. An investigation into the fires is ongoing.


I walk the path along the tracks often.  Homeless people sleep and hang out in various places along the tracks. They look sketchy enough that I remain extremely vigilant if I am walking there before sunrise. But I’ve never, ever seen any police ever in the area. The homeless seem to be able to live wherever they want there.

Sure, I’m guessing that it’s a homeless person that started this fire. But it’s a good bet. And a few months ago, workers who were repairing a bridge along the path that was partially destroyed by a fire told me that they know it was a homeless person that started that fire. There was also another fire that destroyed (melted) two rail cars.