Railroad company pays $72,500 for wildfire damage to Indiana Dunes

HAMMOND, Ind. (AP) — A railroad company has paid $72,500 to the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore for damage caused by wildfires sparked by its trains in March 2012.

The federal government alleged in a civil lawsuit filed in March 2014 that hot cinders from two Indiana Harbor Belt Co. locomotives started a series of wildfires as they passed through western portions of the national park. The fires burned habitat for the endangered Karner blue butterfly and forced the evacuation of about 15 homes in Ogden Dunes.

The U.S. attorney’s office said the Indiana Harbor Belt Co. entered a stipulation in February and agreed to the payment. It has since made the payment.

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