We happened to be walking past this area, and noticed the commotion:
Investigators worked late into the night Sunday to figure out what had sparked an extra-alarm fire on an underground track that sent 19 people to hospitals for smoke inhalation and respiratory problems.
Five people were transported with serious injuries, Chicago Fire Department spokesman Richard Rosado said. The injured included a 10-year-old boy who was being held overnight at Children’s Memorial Hospital for smoke inhalation. The extent of their injuries was not known Sunday night.
“The smoke was so thick you couldn’t see across the aisle,” said passenger Dillon Johnson, 23. “We all started to sit down on the floor where the smoke wasn’t as bad.”
Fire officials said railroad ties caught fire just before 5 p.m. on the northbound track between the Red Line stops at Chicago Avenue and Clark/Division. Black smoke could be seen billowing from several subway grates and vents in the area, including near Gibsons Bar and Steakhouse on Rush Street. Red Line trains and several bus routes were redirected while firefighters fought the small underground blaze.
Fire Department spokesman Larry Langford said it’s unclear what sparked the fire, but that railroad ties occasionally catch fire during the summer heat.
(click to continue reading Red Line fire: 19 people injured in CTA track fire – chicagotribune.com.)
Easily twenty fire trucks, plus various Chicago Transit Authority police cars, a couple of Water Department trucks, and police too. They had cordoned a large area off from cars, but were allowing pedestrians to still walk through, so of course I had to see what was going on.
Also yesterday witnessed a large arrest of some sort on Chicago and State Streets, an arrest that involved 7 or 8 police cars and SUVs, and a dude being detained on the ground in hand cuffs. Still don’t know what that was. Oh, and earlier called 911 when we witnessed a young boy riding his bike swerve against an oncoming taxi1 and ram his head right into a street light post. We heard the collision from a block away. He was with his father and a couple of brothers, all on bikes, but we were worried he might have sustained a concussion. Didn’t stay to see however, just called for an ambulance.
- the bikes were going the wrong way on a one way street [↩]