As many as 20 passengers have suffered burns, three of them serious, after jumping from a train surrounded by bushfires near Castellón in northeastern Spain. A 28-year-old woman from Valencia tells how she fled the conflagration by following the tracks for 20 minutes to get to safety.
The train with 48 passengers on board was en route from Sagunto in the eastern province of Valencia to Zaragoza when a blaze made it impossible to continue the route. The driver stopped and prepared to reverse the train.
The driver then exited the cab and walked through the entire train, trying to reassure the passengers, telling them to remain calm – but without giving more details about what was going on or what to do.
Flames ten meters high were seen very close to the train.
The passengers were terrified because they were not given any instructions. “It was terrifying, it was hell, the train was surrounded by flames,” said Paula, 28, from Valencia. “We had stopped for several minutes and it didn’t seem like the train would start running again,” the woman said. They were minutes that seemed to last forever. “Flames ten meters high were seen very close to the train,” says Paula.
When the train started to reverse, someone pulled the emergency brake, after which panic broke out among a number of passengers. Fearing the train would be engulfed in flames, they smashed windows to escape.
The passengers felt left to their own devices in the midst of a blaze. While some travelers climbed back onto the train when they saw no way out, others fled the fire along the tracks, such as Paula. She was eventually picked up by car by local residents and taken to a shelter in Viver. The woman suffered no injuries from her ordeal.
Some of the people who got off were later picked up by the train when it resumed its journey, after stopping for about half an hour. The passengers were taken to Caudiel station, where emergency services attended to the injured.
A total of 20 passengers suffered burns from their escape attempt. Two people with the most serious burns were evacuated by helicopter, while others – including a young girl of 10 – were taken to nearby hospitals.
It was awful, but I don’t regret getting off the train. It didn’t look like the train would be moving again anytime soon and the wind fanned the flames.
“It was terrible, but I don’t regret getting off the train. It didn’t look like the train would start moving again and the wind fanned the flames,” explains Paula.
In the meantime, the question is getting louder for an explanation as to why trains still drove through the area with the forest fire.
The forest fire in the Valencia region is still expanding. It is the most devastating fire the area has experienced in the past ten years. The fire that has been raging since Saturday near Vall d’Ebo, about 60 kilometers northeast of Alicante, has already destroyed more than 9,500 hectares of forest, state television channel RTVE and other Spanish media reported on Tuesday. About 2,000 people were evacuated.
The fire raged less than fifty kilometers from seaside resorts on the Costa Blanca. According to media reports, the ash clouds have now also reached the Mediterranean island of Mallorca, nearly 300 kilometers away.
Read also: “Almost all forest fires in France are the result of human error”
Also review: Forest fires in Spain rage on
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