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Federal Railroad Administration probing runaway bulldozer incident

ALBANY - The Federal Railroad Administration sent investigators to Albany to investigating Tuesday's runaway bulldozer incident. County officials said they were never formally notified of the incident.

A contractor for Amtrak was working in Colonie when the bulldozer he was using caught fire. An Amtrak spokesperson said he jumped off to escape the fire, but the bulldozer continued down the tracks. Workers stopped it near the Everett Road overpass and used an extinguisher on the flames before it reached a propane storage area.

"We're dancing with the devil if you think about it. It's one of the things where you can do all the comprehensive studies. You can do all to prepare for everything, but human nature takes the best out of us sometimes," said Albany County Executive Dan McCoy.
The FRA said the investigation could last several months. Investigators are hoping to figure out how the bulldozer caught fire and will release recommendations. Fines could also be levied in some cases.

McCoy has proposed a new county law that would require notification of Albany County's Emergency Management Office if crude oil is spilled on tracks that run through the county. Since there were trains potentially carrying oil at the time of the bulldozer fire, notification would have been required in this case.

"This would be a scenario where they would have to notify us because this is something that had potential of being a lot more worse than what happened," said McCoy. "This case, and it was a fluke, but where's the phone call? If they stopped it without notifying anybody and someone didn't find out about it would we be talking about it right now? They probably would have tried to brush it under the carpet so to speak."