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Float malfunction causes traffic jam at Rose Parade

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A float malfunction caused a traffic jam at the Rose Parade on Tuesday morning.


The Chinese American Heritage Foundation’s train float was disabled by a small fire and was towed for the rest of the Rose Parade route, according to Cheryl Moody, a commander for the Pasadena Police Department.


The float, which depicted the moment when two locomotives met face to face upon completion of the Transcontinental Railroad, was wreathed in smoke near where the parade began on Orange Grove Boulevard. A tow truck tried, and failed, to pull the 95-foot float onto a side street.


Several floats and bands were backed up behind the disabled float. Spectators, believing the parade to be over, began spilling onto the parade route. A band tried navigating around the stranded float and ran into the crowd milling about the route. 


“Worst impasse I’ve ever seen at the Rose Parade,” said Los Angeles Times photographer Mark Boster, who witnessed the jam. 


Eventually, organizers were able to clear the route “like Moses parting the Red Sea,” Boster said. The floats and bands backed up behind the Chinese American Heritage Foundation float were able to finish the parade. As of 10:45 a.m., a tow truck and a semi tractor were attempting to transport the disabled float down the rest of the route. 


Descendants of the Chinese, Irish, German, African and Mexican laborers who built the railway were aboard the float, called “Harmony Through Union.”


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