Volume 19 • Issue 15 | August 25 - 31, 2006

Track fire causes evacuation of subways on bridge

Downtown Express photo by Michael Dalton

A subway passenger in need of medical assistance is removed from a stopped train on the Manhattan Bridge on Aug. 16 after a track fire caused a power outage.

By David Spett

A track fire in Brooklyn on the B/D subway lines forced the evacuation of 4,000 subway riders around 6:15 p.m. Wed. Aug. 16. Some riders were stranded on the Manhattan Bridge without power or air conditioning in their subway cars.

The three-alarm fire was caused by “careless disposal of smoking material,” a Fire Department spokesperson said.

According to other reports, homeless people in an encampment caused the fire about 900 feet from the Manhattan Bridge. The first object to catch fire was a piece of wood that supports the rails, known as a track tie.

About 25 people, including three firefighters, were treated for smoke inhalation and heat exhaustion. Thirteen were taken to area hospitals, but none of the injuries was serious.

Reportedly, one B train stopped because of the fire was partially in the tunnel and partially on the bridge. A D train behind it was stuck on the bridge. Firefighters used boards and ladders to get passengers out of subway cars and onto the bridge. Since car traffic had been stopped, passengers were able to walk home over the bridge.

Until service was restored around 11 p.m., B, D, F, V and Q trains either did not operate or were rerouted.


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