Smoking lithium-ion batteries were prevented by Cheyenne firefighters from causing a full-blown fire on the Union Pacific Railroad on Saturday, according to a release from Cheyenne Fire Rescue.

According to the release, CFR firefighters were called out at 6:30 a.m. on June 3 on a report of a moderate amount of smoke coming from a semi-trailer that was loaded on a flatbed railcar.

The railcar at the time was located 16 cars from the end of the westbound facing train on the middle track of the Union Pacific Railroad.

CFR along with Union Pacific and the Laramie County Combined Communications Center shut down the remaining active tracks. Further investigation determined that the trailer may be carrying lithium-ion batteries. The smoke was apparently coming from the batteries.

Since the railcar’s location was found to be in Laramie County Fire Authority’s response area, they were dispatched as well, along with Laramie County Fire District #1.

Fire crews doused the smoking car with water while working to get access to the inside of the smoking trailer. UP employees were able to uncouple the rail car.

The release says "The trailer was eventually accessed from the side using power saws and hand tools and firefighters were able to apply enough water to cool the reacting batteries."

The release quotes CFR Deputy Chief Andrew Dykshorn as saying “it’s always great to see our crews work safely and efficiently on more complex scenes such as this. When these types of reactions begin with Lithium-Ion batteries, it is often hard to stop them from turning into a major fire, but everyone did a great job to keep that from occurring.” 

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