Passenger starts fire on Amtrak train downtown

EUGENE, Ore. - An Amtrak passenger locked himself in a restroom and started a fire in a sleeper car on Friday. Police said that he was later detained and taken to the hospital for smoke inhalation.

The incident started with a call for a crisis intervention response to police after someone on the train making threats.

The man, later identified as 30-year-old Nathan Tillis, had locked himself in the bathroom of a sleeper car and the train crew needed help getting him out.

Shortly after arriving at the Eugene station at around 12:40 p.m. Eugene Police officers attempted to get Tillis out of the bathroom.

Police said that Tillis then started a fire with paper towels from a dispenser inside the bathroom.

Officers and Amtrak personnel pried the door open, and police placed Tillis under arrest. EPD officials said that there was a short scuffle when officers escorted him off the train.

Tillis was taken to a local hospital for smoke inhalation before he was eventually lodged at Lane County Adult Corrections for 23 counts of arson and reckless endangering, criminal mischief, resisting arrest and interfering with police and public transportation.

Passengers were moved out of the train car while firefighters tried to clear out the smoke from the small fire.

The train was held at the station for over an hour as Amtrak crews and police handled the incident; it was en-route to Seattle.

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