Tractor trailer catches fire under Metro North tracks in East Harlem; service affected

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Wednesday, May 18, 2016
Tractor trailer fire under Metro-North bridge causes suspension
Jim Dolan has the story.

EAST HARLEM, Manhattan (WABC) -- Train service into and out of Grand Central was suspended into the night after a large tractor trailer caught fire Tuesday evening under elevated Metro North tracks at East 119 Street and Park Avenue in East Harlem.

Nearly 100 Metro-North personnel are working through the night to inspect the structure to determine the extent of the structural damage and make temporary repairs. Until Metro-North determines that it is safe to operate trains over the viaduct, service into and out of Grand Central Terminal will remain suspended.

For Wednesday morning, Metro-North expects to run on a Saturday schedule, with trains operating as far as stations in the Bronx, where customers looking to travel to Manhattan can transfer to the subway to continue their trips.

At least 10 cars also caught fire when the two-alarm blaze broke out shortly before 7 p.m. Tuesday.

Fire officials say the blaze involved construction debris and several trailers. The FDNY and Hazmat crews will investigate whether there was any hazardous materials involved since the trailers were associated with a garden center business.

Buildings on both sides of the street have been evacuated.

One firefighter was injured when he tripped and fell while fighting the fire.

Photo courtesy Russell Barnes via Twitter:

An FDNY official said the fire was still not out as of 9 p.m.

The MTA had to de-energize the 3rd rail from 110th Street to 125th Street.

There were some explosions in the fire that were so hot and strong, they blew bolts out of steel.


- On the Hudson Line, train service will operate to/from Yankees-East 153rd Street with subway connections to the Lexington Ave. 4 or B or D subway trains. Customers can also catch the 1 subway line at at Metro-North's Marble Hill Station.

- On the Harlem Line, train service will operate to/from Wakefield Station with subway connections to the 2 trains at 241st Street.

- On the New Haven Line, train service will operate to/from Woodlawn Station with subway connections to 2 and 5 trains at 233rd Street.

- Customers should expect delays and extremely crowded conditions and are strongly encouraged to work from home if at all possible or find alternate travel plans. Should conditions improve overnight, then the level of train service will be gradually increased for the morning rush. Customers should continue to check the website and news media for any updates, and listen for announcements at stations.

- NYC Transit is cross-honoring Metro-North tickets at Grand Central and those Bronx stations, and will operate D train local from Bedford Park Blvd. to 145th Street in addition to B local trains; both B and D trains will stop at 161st Street-Yankee Stadium. Customers are encouraged to consider the B or D trains as an alternative to 4 train service.

Governor Andrew Cuomo also responded to the scene Tuesday night and urged commuters to check the MTA's website for updates.