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Accident Report Detail

Fire Onboard Amtrak Passenger Train No. 11, Coast Starlight

Executive Summary

About 1:35 a.m., on June 23, 1982, Amtrak passenger train No. 11, the Coast Starlight, with 307 persons onboard and consisting of 10 cars operating on Southern Pacific Transportation Company track, stopped at Gibson, California, after fire and dense, heavy smoke was discovered in a sleeping car. The passengers in two sleeping cars were evacuated. As a result of the smoke and fire, 2 passengers died, 2 passengers were injured seriously, and 57 passengers and 2 train crewmembers were treated for smoke inhalation. Five persons were admitted to the hospital. Damage was estimated at $1,190,300.

Probable Cause

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of this accident was the lack of effective response to suppress a fire, in bedroom No. 1 of car No. 32010 (1130), and the continued operation of the heating-venting-air conditioning system which resulted in propagation of the fire and smoke. Contributing to the loss of life, injuries, and damage were the lack of definitive emergency procedures and inadequate training for onboard Amtrak service and supervisory personnel and Southern Pacific Railroad Company operating crewmembers in fire emergency procedures and the evacuation of passengers. Also contributing to the loss of life, injuries, and damage was heavy and toxic smoke generated by the combustion of flammable materials, such as plastics and elastomers.

Accident Location: Gibson , CA    
Accident Date: 6/23/1982
Accident ID: DCA82AR015

Date Adopted: 4/19/1983
NTSB Number: RAR-83-03
NTIS Number: PB83-916303

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