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Subway service delayed after fire in Central Square T stop

By Neil J. Ross

A fire on the second car of a six-car inbound Red Line train sent thick black smoke billowing out of the Central Square T station at approximately 4 pm on Friday.

Eyewitnesses reported seeing sparks, green flames, and a bright glowing as the burning train arrived from Harvard. Adam Simon, a 16-year-old from Arlington, said that on the train white sparks illuminated the subway tunnel. "My heart's still beating hard," Simon said later. In the station, people ducked sparks coming from the top of the cars.

MBTA employee Marvin C. Battle, who was on the train at the time, said visibility in the station was reduced to the length of two train cars, in part due to oil burning as it leaked onto the electrified third rail.

The Cambridge fire department's three engines and two trucks brought the fire under control quickly. Police and medical emergency vehicles stopped all traffic on Massachusetts Avenue except for free buses that replaced the stopped trains.

With no injuries to report as the smoke-streaked train drew away from the station at 4:23 pm, the MBTA police officer in charge, Sgt. Robert Bond, seemed relieved. It was now up to the Cambridge police to handle the traffic as emergency vehicles dispersed from the scene.

Normal T service resumed within an hour after the fire.