ALEXANDRIA — The position of the city’s fire department in relation to nearby train tracks could be a health hazard.

Alexandria Mayor Jack Woods said the City Council is considering an ordinance to keep motorists from stopping in front of the station when a train rolls through town, blocking South Harrison Street.

Woods said he realized the potential problem when he was stopped by a train and found that cars were blocking the driveway where fire trucks exit the station.

Although the situation has not caused a delay in emergency response yet, Woods said, town officials want to establish areas in front of the station where stopping is prohibited.

Railroads have also caused some trouble in Elwood.

Lt. Shawn Loar of the Elwood Fire Department said train tracks in Elwood can cause a fire truck or ambulance to stop and wait with other motorists.

“We’ve got a train that goes right through town, it’s hard to avoid it.”

A bigger challenge, he said, is handling other motorists who don’t see emergency vehicles coming or refuse to pull over.

The problem has been somewhat remedied by new road construction, he said.

“Our main road that goes through the center of town where we had the most problems, it was redone and we have a big center lane that we can go through,” Loar said.

Anderson Battalion Chief Jerry Quire said the city’s fire stations are laid out in a way that keeps fire trucks from being interrupted by trains or traffic snarls.

“Our forefathers prior to us were very smart in the placement of stations at the time.”

With stations on each side of the railroad tracks, Quire said, the department is able to respond quickly in spite of stopped trains.

“If one gets blocked, there’s usually another one coming from the other side of the tracks.”

Alexandria hopes to give its fire department a similar sense of comfort.

Contact Brandi Watters: 640-4847,

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