Cargo train fire injures two people in Riverside County

Officials respond to a fire Friday near the 10 Freeway in Palm Desert.
(California Department of Transportation)

Two people were injured Friday after a fire broke out in a cargo train container carrying hazardous materials in Riverside County, officials said.

The fire was reported about 12:30 p.m. near Dinah Shore Drive and Pacific Avenue in Palm Desert, the Riverside County Fire Department said. Firefighters arrived and saw an exterior fire on a container on the train.

Interstate 10 was closed between Cook Street and Monterey Avenue, and Union Pacific Railroad stopped all train traffic in the area as firefighters began their attack, officials said.


The container that caught fire was carrying 25 pounds of lithium batteries, consumer drills, cellphones, 28 standard car batteries and 11 gas cylinders used to deploy airbags, the Fire Department said.

The two people injured were taken to hospitals with “critical burn injuries,” the Fire Department said.

Authorities did not say whether the burn victims were firefighters.

Shortly before 5 p.m., firefighters successfully entered the container and confirmed the fire damaged the floor but hadn’t affected the container’s contents, the Fire Department said.

“The hazard has been mitigated,” the Fire Department said.

Additional information about the incident was not available Friday.