Small Blue Line fire temporarily halts service from Damen to Racine
BY STEFANO ESPOSITO AND BRIAN SLODYSKO Staff Reporters May 31, 2013 8:14AM
Updated: May 31, 2013 7:00PM
Service on the CTA Blue Line was suspended Friday morning after a small fire erupted in the Grand Avenue station, a CTA official said.
The fire on the tracks was extinguished about 7:40 a.m., fire officials said.
“It turned out to be rubbish along the tracks,” said Assistant Deputy Fire Commissioner Mark Nielsen. “Not much fire at all. We used fire extinguishers to put it out.”
Service from the Damen stop on the North Side, through downtown, to the Racine stop on the Near West Side had been suspended, according to CTA spokesman Brian Steele.
Riders were being allowed back on the trains by 8:25 a.m.
Noah Staton, 17, of Jefferson Park, was on his way to Whitney Young High School when he said the train came to a stop and everything went dark except the emergency lights.
“It’s just like complete silence, and nobody exactly knows what’s going on,” Staton said.
Soon after, a fire official told passengers there was no danger but told them to evacuate, he said.
Staton said he could smell a little bit of smoke as passengers left out of the Grand Avenue station and emergency exits.
Nielsen said many riders on the packed trains “self-evacuated,” something the fire department doesn’t recommend.
“Try to listen to instructions when an emergency occurs,” Nielsen said. “It can be dangerous to leave a train on your own. You don’t want to do that.”