An Orange Line train transporting commuters on a bridge that runs over the Mystic River caught fire on Thursday morning, sending hundreds of people scrambling for safety.
Video shared with Boston 25 News showed flames shooting from a train car and thick smoke billowing into the air. An MBTA spokesman said the train was approaching Assembly Station when it caught fire around 6:45 a.m.
About 200 people evacuated the train, including one woman who jumped into the river and others who climbed through smashed windows. The woman who jumped swam to shore and declined medical attention, according to the MBTA. There were no other injuries reported.
Shuttle buses are replacing service between Oak Grove and Community College, the MBTA said. All Haverhill Line Commuter Rail trains will make additional stops at Oak Grove station until further notice.
In a statement, the MBTA said, “Smoke was observed on the head car of a southbound train approaching Assembly Station. Power was turned off between Wellington and Assembly and the Somerville Fire Department responded.”
John Gosselin, who is staying at the nearby Encore Boston Harbor, happened to be looking out of his hotel window as the chaotic scene unfolded.
“The train stopped and sparks starting coming out of the front, probably about three feet behind the driver,” Gosselin said. “I saw a flame and then I knew something was up…It engulfed very, very quickly. The flames were shooting up. The smoke got very black.”
Video shared by Vladi Ramos, who was on the disabled train, showed passengers running along the tracks to get away from the fire.
Another passenger, Gerardo Saenz, said people were “definitely freaking out.” He added that other riders were helping people remain calm.
The Federal Transit Administration and the the National Transportation Safety Board have been notified of the incident. The MBTA Track and Power departments are inspecting the infrastructure.
In June, all new Red and Orange Line trains were pulled from service after an out-of-service car experienced a battery failure in the Wellington Yard.
The FTA said in a recent report that investigators found the MBTA to be short-staffed to the point where trains were not safe for riders.
MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak said last week that the agency has taken steps to alleviate staff shortages and to ensure better track conditions.
Thursday’s fire remains under investigation.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.
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