> SUBSCRIBE FOR FREE! 

A freight train shooting sparks as it passed ignited a string of brush fires Thursday that covered more than three miles from Scarborough to Biddeford, destroying at least 10 seasonal trailers in Old Orchard Beach, Maine, and forcing the evacuation of scores of homes the Portland Press Herald reported.

Old Orchard Beach was hit hardest. Fire Chief John Glass struck five alarms, drawing in 75 firefighters from 20 communities, some as far away as York.

Residents also fought flames themselves, dousing small fires burning in dead, dry vegetation.

Brush fires lined the western side of the tracks. Fire that raged at the Wagon Wheel RV Resort and Campground on Old Orchard Road threw off smoke that was seen from miles away. Some of the RVs in the campground, packed close together near the tracks, caught fire and their propane tanks exploded.

“Once one or two of the tanks exploded, that started to spread the fire,” Glass said.

He said 10 RVs were destroyed and six were moderately damaged. He believes the trailers were unoccupied and nobody was hurt. Several firefighters were treated for exhaustion, he said.

Glass said witnesses reported seeing sparks coming from the bottom of a freight train. He did not know if the brakes were locked or whether there was any other malfunction.

For the full story and an extensive slide show and video, click here.