A man thought to be fleeing after accidentally starting a grass fire Wednesday afternoon in Dallas was hit by a CP Rail train.
RCMP and the B.C. Ambulance Service were called by train personnel about 3:30 p.m. Paramedics stabilized the victim at the scene and he was transported to Royal Inland Hospital.
Dan Funk, a fire inspector with Kamloops Fire and Rescue, said officials believe the man, in his 50s, accidentally sparked a grass fire with a cigarette. The blaze started mid-afternoon behind Gateway Estates Mobile Home Park.
RCMP found the man about one kilometre away from the fire, beside the CP Rail train track. Funk said this same man is responsible for sparking the fire.
"He's in pretty bad shape," he said, adding the man suffered serious burns from the waist up.
RCMP Cpl. Kelly Butler said a man was found conscious, suffering a head injury. His mountain bike was laying on an old stretch of the Trans-Canada Highway about half a kilometre east of the Flying J truck stop.
"He was breathing. He was able to answer questions and sign to us."
Butler would not speculate on the connection between the man thought to have sparked the fire and the victim of the train accident.
"It's too early to say. We don't know what he was doing," he said.
A spokeswoman with the B.C. Ambulance Service said two ambulances were dispatched to Plainsman Road in Dallas at 3:23 p.m. One of the vehicles was equipped with advance life support.
She said the man was in serious condition when taken to hospital.
Funk said the man might have fallen asleep in the grass, which is so dry it would have quickly ignited.
"He had a bottle there and the cigarette would have dropped in grass," he said, adding the fire spread quickly. "It's extreme conditions today."
The burned a 100-metre-by-300-metre patch of land before firefighters put it out. Funk said it's fortunate the wind co-operated and didn't fan the flames up the hillside.