Subway Service Resumes After Tunnel Fire Snarls Rush Hour

Photo: Arthur Chi'en

More than half a dozen subway lines were cut off right at the Tuesday afternoon rush when a manhole area in a subway tunnel caught on fire.

Dozens of emergency vehicles lined Flatbush avenue in downtown Brooklyn. A crowd of over a hundred emergency workers stood around a grating - the only entry point to get at the fire. Complicating matters, the fire was 600 feet down the tunnel so a train had to shuttle firefighters from the entry point to the fire.

After more than two hours, the fire was brought under control - the process slowed as officials needed to be absolutely certain the high voltage of the 3rd rail was cut before putting water in play.

The point of origin was a manhole room, approximately 3' x 5'. The room had "rubbish and power cables running thought it," according to officials at the scene. Fire marshals arrived to look onto the cause.

By mid evening, transit workers were able to bypass the room - thus restoring service.