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Watch Moment Panicking Commuters Flee as Train Bursts Into Flames, Riders Escape Through Windows, One Ends Up in River

Fire and panic rode the rails as a Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority train caught fire on Thursday morning, forcing about 200 people to evacuate. One of those fleeing the smoke and flames as the train hurled over the Mystic River in Somerville jumped into the river. One car of the train caught fire as it was approaching a station around 6:45 a.m., according to WFXT-TV. John Gosselin got a bird’s eye view of the incident from a nearby hotel window. “The train stopped and sparks starting coming out of the front, probably about three feet behind the driver,” Gosselin said. “I saw a flame and then I knew something was up. … It engulfed very, very quickly. The flames were shooting up. The smoke got very black.” Passenger Jennifer Thomson-Sullivan, 42, recounted the moment when passengers started seeing flames leaping up past the windows, according to the Boston Globe. “That’s when everyone started freaking out,” she said. “People rushed to the back of the car where I was sitting. There was a gentleman frantically trying to open the emergency exit. But the door would not open.” She said the man then kicked out a window. “From that point on, people started throwing themselves out the window,” she said. “They didn’t stop to consider the third rail or what if another train was coming in the other direction. … People just went for it.” One went all the way down to the water. “An unidentified female passenger jumped off the bridge into the river,” Somerville Fire Chief Charles Breen said. “Our marine boat happened to be in the river for training and was on scene immediately. The woman refused to get into the boat. She was provided a life jacket and proceeded to swim to shore. … Then she walked away.” No injuries were reported. According to an MBTA statement, “a section of the sheet metal, or side panel, on the vehicle, appears to have come in contact with the third rail, igniting material below the car.” “With a more extensive inspection already underway, we will take every necessary step to prevent this from happening again. We understand that this and other recent incidents have tested our riders’ and the public’s trust. We remain committed to prioritizing safety and reliability to deliver the service our riders deserve,” the statement said. MBTA general manager Steve Poftak said the train where the fire broke out had been inspected on June 23 and has been in service since 1980. Boston Mayor Michelle Wu called the incident “more evidence of an aging transit system in crisis.” Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker called the fire a “colossal failure.” This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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