|On January 22nd firefighters responded to a report of switching equipment on fire in a shed in a large rail switching yard. A snowfall of 9 – 9.5 inches prevented the Engines from driving to the shed so smaller four wheel drive vehicles were used to transport firefighters and equipment to the fire. The two engines were parked on the main access road, which had just been plowed, with emergency lights activated. A locomotive pulling a train, at a slow speed, folded the mirror on one engine and side swiped the second engine causing significant damage. The driver of the engine described hearing the train horn and almost immediately felt the impact as the train dragged the engine several feet. No one was injured.
Situational awareness is something that cannot be taken for granted. The trucks were parked too close to the rail and the railroad had not shut down the rail line along the road. The IC was focused on the fire which was located a long distance from the staging area and there was no one monitoring the Big picture. An officer or safety officer in the railroad command area could have been monitoring the rail yard (big picture) and could have been in direct contact with railroad employees.