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The Maine Forest Service said Monday (May 12) that it has nearly completed its investigation into the brush fires that burned hundreds of discarded railroad ties, threatened dozens of homes and destroyed part of a campground in Old Orchard Beach last week, the Portland Press Herald reported.

Meanwhile, a damage assessment by the Old Orchard Beach Fire Department has determined that the fires caused nearly a quarter-million dollars in damage to the Wagon Wheel RV Resort and Campground in Old Orchard Beach.

A spokesman for the forest service said a statement will be issued this week to explain the cause of the fires and name the responsible party or parties.

Witnesses told authorities they saw sparks shooting from a freight train that passed though Saco, Old Orchard Beach and Biddeford on Thursday afternoon.

The brush fires covered more than three miles along the railroad tracks. Fire spread to the campground, destroying 10 seasonal trailers and damaging seven others. Propane tanks were also ignited.

No one was injured, but nearby homes had to be evacuated and 75 firefighters from 20 communities responded to the fires.

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