Busch Gardens train, ‘Escape from Pompeii’ fires ruled accidental, officials say


WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (WAVY) —  Firefighters responded to a fire on one of the trains inside the Busch Gardens theme park on Thursday. 

The train the fire occurred on was on a spur track behind the Caribou Train Station in the New France area of the park when it caught fire, according to Ryan Ashe, the James City County Fire Chief

James City County police say the call came in just before 3:30 p.m.

James City County, York and Williamsburg firefighters responded, and by 4:30 p.m. JCC firefighters told 10 On Your Side the fire was under control.

There was a minor injury to a Busch Gardens staff member, Ashe said. 

On Friday, the cause of the fire was ruled accidental by James City County Fire Marshal Kenny Driscoll.

It was determined a propane leak in the Balmoral Castle (Blue Train) was present as an engineer was checking valves on the locomotive as it was on a storage track, according to Driscoll. Something caused the propane to ignite and the tender of the locomotive went up in flames.

“The train attraction is closed until further notice,” said Cindy Sarko, a spokeswomen with Busch Gardens. “The train was not in operation when the fire occurred and the fire was contained to the cab of the train’s engine and the tender. The damage is cosmetic and we believe the train is repairable, however at this time we haven’t made a decision if we will make repairs.”

The park owns three narrow gauge trains that run around the park for 20-minute trips, according to the park. The locomotives are all steam powered and use propane tanks to fuel a fire to make steam.  All three trains built in the 1970’s by Crown Metal Products and the ride is an original attraction at the park.

The ride is inspected regularly by James City County Building Safety & Permits. This week an inspector at the county was actually at the park conducting mid-season inspections, according to director Tom Coghill.

This is second incident involving fire at Busch Gardens in a month. A fire back in July closed the park’s “Escape from Pompeii” water ride, which has since reopened. Driscoll also said that fire was accidental.

In a release, Busch Gardens said “the safety of our guests, ambassadors and animals remains our top priority.”

Stay with WAVY.com for updates. 

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Trending Stories

WAVY Twitter Widget

***Don’t Miss Module Removal CSS***

WAVY Facebook