SAN BRUNO (CBS SF) — A Caltrain engine slammed into a construction vehicle, tearing it in half and igniting its fuel tank in a massive fireball Thursday morning in a crash that injured 13 people, charred the exterior of several passenger cars and closed service on the busy San Francisco Peninsula commuter rail line.
Fortunately, transit officials said, all passengers aboard southbound train 506 were uninjured.
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The collision near Scott Street in San Bruno happened around 10:38 a.m. when the train collided with “track electrification equipment” operated by a contractor. Caltrain officials confirmed that the driver of the vehicle was taken to hospital.
Two Caltrain workers who were in the operator’s compartment at the front of the train were also injured, but their injuries were not life-threatening, officials said.
A Caltrain spokesperson later confirmed that a total of 13 people were injured in the crash, but none of the injuries appeared to be life-threatening.
The force of the impact tore the construction truck apart, with the burning cab remaining in front of the engine and another large piece of wreckage coming to rest several cars behind. Burning gasoline was visible under several cars.
SB506 is currently terminated due to a fire on the tracks. Expect continued delays.
— Caltrain Alerts (@CaltrainAlerts) March 10, 2022
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Fire crews could be seen in video of Chopper 5 extinguishing flames inside at least one passenger car at the scene not far from San Francisco International Airport.
The Chopper 5 video also showed a triage area that was set up near the damaged cars with emergency first responders on scene.
The San Bruno Fire Department later confirmed it responded with 25 units and a total of 60 people.
San Bruno Fire with Automatic Aid Resources are at the scene of a second alarm fire, MCI Level 3 at San Felipe and Huntington Ave. Train accident involving vehicle on track with injuries. 25 units on site with a total of 60 people on site. pic.twitter.com/DoKDUVo4TJ
— SanBrunoFireDept (@SanBrunoFD) March 10, 2022
Twitter user Jesse Miller posted photos and a video showing the aftermath of the collision with a large fire where the train hit the vehicle.
“Craziest #Caltrain ride ever. I think everyone got off the train safely,” he tweeted.
The video he posted showed a fire on the tracks where the train appeared to have dragged the vehicle, likely burning gasoline leaking from the demolished truck.
— Jesse Miller (@Texosporium) March 10, 2022
Caltrain said there is currently local service between San Francisco and South San Francisco as well as Millbrae and Tamien Station in San Jose. A SamTrans bus bridge operates between Millbrae and South San Francisco stations and BART also provides mutual aid.
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Caltrain officials said the incident is currently under investigation to determine the cause. Work on the system electrification project has been temporarily suspended to ensure that all appropriate safety protocols are in place before electrification work resumes.