Update: Metrolink investigating train engine fire in Irvine; passengers released

File photo: A conductor steps down from the engine of a Metrolink train on Sept. 15, 2008.
File photo: A conductor steps down from the engine of a Metrolink train on Sept. 15, 2008.
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Updated 1:14 p.m.: Metrolink investigators are looking into the cause of a fire on one of its locomotives Thursday morning on the Inland Empire-Orange County line. 

The five-car train was going through Irvine on its way to Laguna Niguel when the fire sparked shortly before 9 o'clock.

Orange County Authority Captain Steve Concialdi says it took 40 firefighters about one hour to contain the flames. 

"The fire was a stubborn fire in the engine compartment and they had to be extremely careful with all the electronic components. They used five dry can extinguishers, and still the fire was stubborn, and it continued to burn. So then they just had to spray water lightly," Concialdi said.

Metrolink crews had to move all passengers to the front railcar while firefighters battled the flames.

"Given the location of where this occurred, we weren't able to immediately remove the passengers from the train because of their safety," explained Metrolink spokesman Jeff Lustgarten. 

None of the 56 people on board were hurt. Once the fire was put out, all the passengers were evacuated and shuttled to their final destination. 

Service was disrupted for a couple of hours. 

Earlier: A fire broke out in the engine box of a Metrolink train Thursday morning in Irvine.

No injuries were reported, but it was unclear how long the problem might hold up trains in the area near Sand Canyon and Burt Road.

Metrolink spokesman Jeff Lustgarten told KPCC they received the initial report at 9:05 a.m. The was traveling from downtown Riverside to Laguna Niguel/Mission Viejo when a mechanical fire broke out on the locomotive. 

"Nobody's in harm's way. The train is not in a position physically at the moment where we could take people safely off of the train, but we've moved everybody to the back cars, so they're well away from everything that's happening," Lustgarten said.

The cause of the fire was unclear, but Lustgarten said Orange County firefighters were on scene and hoped to have the fire under control soon. Buses had been arranged to take people around the incident.

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Correction: An earlier version of this story mistook the timing of commuters' evacuation from the train. KPCC regrets the error.