Smoke condition at Penn Station suspends LIRR
Monday, November 14, 2005
Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) service was suspended at Pennsylvania Station due to a smoke condition. The fire was in the station ceiling above the entrance to tracks 18 and 19 between the waiting room, and the information and ticket-vending booths.—
The fire, which started at 7:05 p.m. EST (Tuesday 0005 UTC). (the last time shown on the mechanical departures board), continued to fill the 7th Ave. entrance with smoke as late as 8:10 p.m. local time, well after the FDNY had the situation under control. TV crews captured footage and passers-by snapped cellphone images of the scene, while confused commuters were moved along to the tune of "Keep movin'" by National Guardsmen and MTA Police.
The LIRR level of Penn Sta. was sealed off from the Exit Concourse on north, including the escalators leading to the 7th Ave. entrance. A myriad of commuters packed the Exit and West End Concourses, calling and text-messaging their delay on their phones.
By 8:22 p.m. local time the electronic departures board resumed listing trains, the station's shops reopened for business, and limited service was restored. Those who were shoulder-to-shoulder in the concourses found themselves in the same situation, but now on a train bound for home.
LIRR customers are advised that residual delays - and scent of smoke - should be expected for the rest of the night.
The cause of the fire has not yet been determined.