Fire alarm systems offline in new Second Avenue Subway

Thursday, October 19, 2017
Fire alarm systems offline in new Second Avenue Subway
N.J. Burkett has the details on the lingering problems at the Second Avenue subway stations.

UPPER EAST SIDE, Manhattan (WABC) -- Amid the gleaming, spotless Second Avenue Subway stations there are lingering problems. Riders Eyewitness News spoke with said they had no idea that the fire detection system in the new Second Avenue Subway doesn't work.

And they had no idea that the men pacing the stations are actually fire wardens on hand to report a fire if one breaks out.

"Does that make you feel safer?" Eyewitness News Reporter N.J. Burkett asked.

"No, they're people, you know?" said Sean Devney, a rider.

"That's a tremendous deal!" said Kenny Turner, a rider. "What happens if something goes awry?"

MTA officials admit the system has been offline since May.

That's when a malfunction triggered the sprinkler system in the 86th Street station, damaging several key electrical components.

Engineers are still working to reprogram the detectors.

They chose to shut down the entire fire detection system to prevent another sprinkler malfunction, while keeping the stations open.

"The Second Avenue Subway is open, safe, serving roughly 170,000 riders a day," said Shams Tarek, spokesman, "and reducing pressure on the Lexington Avenue Line."

And with the fire wardens, MTA officials insist riders are even safer than they would be, otherwise.

Riders Eyewitness News spoke with weren't so sure.

"If that man is over there and the fire is at the other end of the platform, or below the platform where he can't see it, that's an issue," Turner said.

The line opened on New Year's Eve.

Governor Andrew Cuomo was determined to deliver the service on-time, as promised.

But critics say that might have been a mistake, right on down to signs at 72nd Street. That's where the northeast arrow points riders south, and the southeast arrow points riders north.

"They launched it too quickly, before it was truly finished," said Deborah Newman, a rider. "It's just all carelessness. They went too fast at the end."