NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Nine people were treated for smoke inhalation after a track fire in Harlem snarled the Monday morning rush-hour commute for many subway riders.
Garbage on the tracks caught fire near 145th Street and St. Nicholas Avenue around 7:30 a.m. completely halting service on the entire B and C lines, and stopping A and D trains in both directions north of 125th Street.
Photos and video on social media showed platforms packed with crowds, and riders evacuating trains that were stuck between stations.
“There was a fire in the train station. We all had to be evacuated,” one rider said.
“They stopped the trains going both uptown and downtown and evacuating passengers here,” another rider said.
Some passengers said their train got very hot after it came to a halt and the lights and air conditioning went out.
A D train was stuck in the smokey tunnel for more than an hour between 145th and 135th streets.
“We’re sitting there for over an hour. The smoke started coming inside the train,” rider Dolores Hull said. “Some of us started kicking and banging to kick out the window so we could get air.”
Rider Gwen Hedrington said a woman next to her collapsed from heat exhaustion.
“And I felt as if I was gonna pass out,” Hedrington said.
Passengers were ultimately escorted out by train personnel onto the platform.
Bus stops at 145 Street and subway stations along the 1 line were jammed with frustrated, evacuated commuters trying to figure out a way to get to work.
“MTA NYCT and emergency crews including the FDNY responded immediately and worked to restore service as quickly as possible,” the MTA said in a statement. “As an alternative, customers were sent redirected to the 1 line which experienced heavy volume. We are reviewing the entire incident, we apologize for the inconvenience, and we appreciate our customers’ patience.”
Service was disrupted for more than two hours before resuming around 9:50 a.m. with extensive delays.
For many, the ordeal and the wait was grueling but passengers said conductors told them what was happening and tried to help.
“It was a little scary. But They tried to keep us all calm,” rider Shawna Gabriel said.
As CBS2’s Scott Rapoport reported, the MTA released a statement saying they would review what happened, and apologized to customers for the “inconvenience.”
For the latest updates, visit the MTA website.