Debris Blamed for Subway Track Fire at 72nd Street

The uptown express subway track at 72nd Street and Broadway burst into flames on Tuesday morning during rush hour, sending smoke into the station. The MTA said that debris on the tracks caused the fire.

The fire was called into FDNY at 8:39 a.m., but was just a smoke condition by the time firefighters arrived and the issue was considered resolved as of 9:07 a.m., according to a spokesman. Northbound express trains went local during the FDNY activity, the MTA said.

NEWS | 11 comments | permalink
    1. AC57 says:

      72nd Street, 79th Street, and 86th Street all should be closed temporarily (obviously not at the same time). All 3 stations have serious structural deficiencies across the stations and have been almost untouched. Track work is important, and they’ve done a pretty good job with the tunnel lighting, but the infrastructure of the stations themselves have been essentially untouched, and I fear that something fatal could happen, and a massive structural failure could result if left unchecked.

      Falling debris is a small sign of bigger things to come, this should be taken very seriously.

      And to those who will inevitably ask why I’m leaving 66th Street and 96th Street out of the equation, 66th Street was redone in the 90s, and during Diller, Scofidio + Renfro’s renovation of Lincoln Square, the station was adjusted as well, and 96th Street is more or less structurally, and was updated, somewhat, when the new station house was built in 2010

      • Ed says:

        72nd Street had a major rebuild about 15 years ago which widened the platforms at the north end and added the new entrance north of 72nd Street. What exactly are the structural deficiencies in these stations that can’t be repaired through ordinary procedures? And what does debris on the tracks have to do with structural integrity? I’ve noticed trackbeds are substantially cleaner than they have been in a long time, and I’ll bet you that the vast majority of track fires are due to thoughtless riders tossing garbage onto the tracks.

        • AC57 says:

          Quite frankly, I wasn’t alive when the station was retrofit back in 2001/2002, so I can’t compare, and while I will take your word that cleanliness improved since then, it doesn’t matter when the retrofit was done. Just because it was completed relatively recently doesn’t mean that the station doesn’t need a revamp.

          A few months ago, while standing in the stairwell, waiting to exit the station, I noticed that the beams over the Southbound Express track were somewhat warped. I also noticed that the same beam shakes whenever a train enters the station (I don’t know if that’s a normal occurrence, but that seems like something that really shouldn’t happen.) There are also definite signs of aging in the walls and the columns. And the north end of the station really didn’t need widening – the entire station needs widening. I said this before: The station is built with the platform size of a typical Single island local station, not a double island express station. Yes, some of these should be simple fixes, but I don’t understand why the MTA is just neglecting to do something about it.

          I have also been hit with falling debris in that station, (fortunately, without injury, but small pieces falling aren’t something to just overlook.)

          And you’re right, littering is and probably will always be the primary problem, but this is also the MTA we’re dealing with (You know, the organization the renovated a station late, advertised that it would be waterproof a little before it flooded.) So whenever it’s not confirmed to be liter or trash, I’m not gonna automatically assume that it’s trash (Because something like that would definitely be classified as trash, not debris.)

      • Bugg R. E. says:

        “AC57 says:
        June 4, 2019 at 12:46 pm”

        Son, shouldn’t you be in school? Okay, lunch hour, I suppose. But is posting to WSR really the best use of that time?

        • UWS_lifer says:

          That’s what I have been saying.

          It’s not that kids aren’t capable of understanding these complicated issues and being articulate about them, it’s that they shouldn’t have to or want to. Go get some experience living life first.

          Trust me, there will be plenty of time in life to focus on mundane community issues. Go enjoy your life, hang out with your friends, find a girl or boyfriend, explore music and the arts, go watch Avengers: Endgame (again), anything but writing these long, detailed comments. You do not want to look back on your youth and realize you wasted a good portion of it arguing with Dannyboy.:)

          Now, having said all of that, I suspect this person is not really 16, just someone having a little fun messing with us all. I would bet the farm, or rather the very small co-op, on it.:)

    2. geoff says:

      i would guess that ‘debris on the tracks’ was the fuel for the fire; what caused the fire?

      • ben says:

        I would guess maybe the sparks from the third rail as a train drives by. you see those bright flashes under normal circumstances all the time.

      • B.B. says:

        Likely same thing that did and has pretty much since NYC subway system was created; sparks from either metal on metal (metal wheels against metal tracks). And or those generated by braking.

        Back in the 1970’s and good part of 1980’s track fires were almost a daily occurrence somewhere in system. Many bad enough entire line would be shut down for several hours until things were put out and cleared.

    3. Another Martha says:

      Why is there so much trash on the tracks? There are trash bins everywhere on the platform. Is it so difficult to walk to one and throw trash away? And why are so many folks eating on the platform? I just don’t get it.

      • B.B. says:

        You answered your own query; people just can’t be bothered putting their trash where it belongs.

        Things actually are better than in past; one good thing about rise of digital media over print is that fewer newspapers are littering subway system.

    4. uw says:

      AC57: You know the saying, see something, say something. Reach out to MTA, 311, etc to report debris falling on you and other problems.