Late yesterday afternoon a fire developed on Chicago’s Red Line train, halting traffic and forcing 19 passengers to the hospital. Five people were reported to have suffered serious injuries, including a 10 year-old boy who was observed overnight at Chicago’s Children’s Memorial Hospital.
Firefighters were investigating the cause of the railroad fire and have identified the source as railroad ties catching fire on the train track between the Red Line’s Chicago Avenue and Clark/Division stops. While it is currently unclear what caused the fire, Chicago Fire Department representatives have indicated that Chicago’s summer heat occasionally causes the railroad ties to catch fire, but is more common on elevated trains than subway trains. Yesterday the high in Chicago was 78 degrees Fahrenheit.
Passengers aboard the Red Line subway train when the fire broke out reported black, billowing smoke that became so thick they could not see across the aisle. According to a Chicago Tribune article, by the time the train arrived at its next stop and passengers were finally able to exit, they did so in a huge rush, literally “fleeing for the exits”.
Train passengers reported that the fire caused chaos to erupt on the trains, with people reacting in a number of ways in response to a complete lack of direction or information from the CTA. Some people huddled on the train floors to escape the smoke, while others dialed 9-1-1, or attempted to pry open the subway doors. However, some passengers did indicate that they were told that their train had stopped due to a small fire on the track. The level of information the passengers received was completely dependant on the train they were on and its operator.
Any personal injury claim against the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) is subject to a one-year statute of limitations. This means that a party has one year from the date of injury to file a claim against the CTA. If the party fails to file within that one year period, then any cause of action they may have against the CTA will be barred.
Chicago personal injury attorney Robert Kreisman has been handling Chicago train accident cases and successfully brought cases against the CTA. For over 30 years, Kreisman Law Offices has been handling Illinois personal injury cases, serving areas in and around Chicago, including Evanston, Blue Island, and Oak Park.
Serena Maria Daniels, Liam Ford and Joel Hood. “19 injured in CTA Red Line fire.” Chicago Tribune. June 20, 2010.
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