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Details released about wildfire that destroyed Lytton, B.C. and possible train involvement

A property destroyed when the Lytton Creek wildfire swept through the community on June 30 is seen above railway tracks in Lytton, B.C., on Sunday, August 15, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

The Transportation Safety Board (TSB) has found no link between any train activity and the cause of the Lytton B.C. wildfire that destroyed most of the community.

In a report released Thursday, the TSB said its investigation could find no link between trains and the wildfire.

The wildfire that sparked on June 30 burned about 90 per cent of the community of Lytton, in southern B.C.

Two people were killed in the massive blaze.

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The Lytton First Nation and Thompson-Nicola Regional District have both suggested the possibility that a train was responsible for the fire, and several witnesses have described seeing train fires in the area of Lytton ahead of the tragic incident.

Ryan Marander told Global News he saw a train on fire at Lytton between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. the day the community burned.

“We saw a train up on a trestle, which was kind of in between the freeway and Lytton, and the train was stopped and underneath one of the flat deck cars, which looked like it was carrying wrapped lumber, we saw fire underneath one of the cars — looked to be maybe four feet in diameter or something at the base,” he said.

Another witness called 911 when he saw a southbound train on fire about 44 kilometres south of Lytton the same afternoon, just outside Boston Bar.

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Both CN Rail and CP Rail pledged to cooperate with any investigation into the fire, and pledged financial support for Lytton residents.

CN promised $1.5 million while CP Rail, which also runs through Lytton, pledged $1 million.

Residents of Lytton remain scattered in hotels, with family, or in the handful of homes still standing in the community.

A timeline or exact details of when residents can begin to return is still unclear at this time.

With files from Simon Little and Elizabeth McSheffrey

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