7 children burned at Southeastern Railway Museum in Duluth

DULUTH — Seven children were burned Tuesday morning while riding a train at the Southeastern Railway Museum in Duluth.

Gwinnett County fire department spokesman Capt. Tommy Rutledge said the children, part of a Loganville daycare group visiting the museum, were “on a full-sized train ride when hot embers blew from the train’s stack and landed on the group.” Ranging in age from 4 to 11, they suffered “minor” first- and second-degree burns the size of dimes or quarters.

“Some have one burn spot and other have two,” Rutledge said.

Paramedics treated the children at the scene and they were not taken to the hospital. Staff from the daycare — identified by state officials as Discovery Point No. 44 in Walton County — was in contact with parents of the children involved, Rutledge said.

The incident occurred at about 10:45 a.m.

The Southeastern Railway Museum bills itself as “Georgia’s Official Transportation History Museum” and has operated on Buford Highway in Duluth since 1970. Museum administrator Randy Pirkle said the kids were riding in an open-air caboose Tuesday when the locomotive pulling it experienced an abnormally large stack fire and the resulting embers floated backward.

Pirkle said the facility’s mechanical staff will investigate but the incident may be “something that we’re not going to find out a whole lot about.”

“We don’t believe anybody did anything wrong or incorrect,” he said.

The museum will remain open but the train ride will be out of service until staff is sure it’s safe to operate.

“We’re glad that nobody was more seriously injured than they were,” Pirkle said.