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34th Street-7th Avenue Subway Station Evacuated Due To Nearby Fire

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — A Midtown Manhattan subway station and three neighboring buildings were evacuated Wednesday because of a transformer fire.

The underground fire, between 33rd and 34th streets, led to smoke on the subway platform and carbon monoxide in the nearby buildings, Deputy Chief Bob Carroll said.

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“We saw sparks coming from the ceiling of the local track and a lot of thick, black smoke,” straphanger Mo Gelber told CBS 2’s Alice Gainer.

Gelber, who was on the No. 2 train, had to evacuate and took photos as smoke started to fill the platform.

“They stopped (the train) right before it pulled into the 34th Street station, and then the police and the firemen came on the train and told everybody they must evacuate the station immediately,” he said.

Riders covered their mouths to keep from inhaling the vapors. A woman on a train platform near Seventh Avenue and 34th Street was taken to a hospital with minor smoke inhalation.

“There was no panic,” Gelber said of the evacuation. “There was confusion because wanted to figure out how to get where they’re going and what other trains they could take.”

MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz said the Nos. 1, 2 and 3 trains bypassed the station during the emergency response.

Con Ed crews cut power to the transformer. Full service has been restored on the Nos. 1, 2 and 3 lines, but with residual delays.

“The CO in the buildings have gone down to normal levels, and … no smoke on the subway platform anymore,” Carroll said.

Traffic also was hampered in the area due to fire and utility vehicles.

The incident was reported around noon Wednesday and was over about 90 minutes later.

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(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)