Sco Paulo commuter sets train aflame

Rush hour jam proves too much for one rider.

By J.A. Getzlaff
Published April 5, 2000 4:00PM (EDT)

Anyone who's ever been late for work because of a stalled commuter train packed to the gills with sweat-soaked humanity, everyone complaining and coughing and breathing their belly breath into an airless train car, will appreciate this one.

Last week in Sco Paulo, South America's most populous city, the Sco Paulo-Mogi das Cruzes commuter line broke down, leaving its suburban riders to spend a good part of the morning waiting for an available train. When a six-car locomotive finally arrived, the furious passengers piled in and braced themselves for the cramped ride into Sco Paolo.

And that's when things went from bad to worse. Instead of chugging into the city center, the train stalled. As the minutes bled into hours, the marooned commuters' tempers went from red-hot to incendiary until somebody finally snapped -- and set the train on fire.

According to the Associated Press, three of the six cars were set aflame, which eventually caused the entire locomotive to burn. No one was injured, but a spokesperson from the Sco Paulo Metropolitan Train Company told the Associated Press the arsonist, or arsonists, completely destroyed the train, causing U.S. $1.14 million damage.

No one was arrested and police still have no idea which of the hotheads was responsible for the fire.

J.A. Getzlaff

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