Metro-North Service Resumes After Fire Under Harlem River Bridge

By Ben Fractenberg | September 20, 2010 2:35pm | Updated on September 21, 2010 6:19am

By Ben Fractenberg and Jen Glickel

DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

HARLEM — Metro-North service resumed Monday afternoon after firefighters put out a blaze under the Harlem River bridge that connects thousands of commuters to Manhattan, authorities said.

The FDNY was called to the scene at 11:38 a.m. after a blaze ignited in wooden piling under the bridge, near 135th Street and Harlem River Drive, according to FDNY Deputy Chief Paul Mannix.

The fire quickly spread to the bulkhead pier and stanchion on the bridge, which is the only way in and out of Manhattan on the Metro-North, Mannix said.

Firefighters appeared to get the fire under control about 12:30 p.m., using a fire boat. There were no reported injuries.

"Once they got water on the fire the flames subsided pretty quickly," Mannix said. "But it was a substantial fire."

After shutting down all service into and out of Manhattan, Metro-North trains resumed on two of the four tracks that run over the bridge at about 2:30 p.m., a spokesman said.

Travelers who had expected delays and cancellations in and out of Grand Central and the Harlem-125th Street stations during evening rush hour were pleased that the trains were back up and running without a problem when it came time to commute home.

"I was definitely nervous when I heard about the fire," said Nicole Siniscalchi, 25, who commutes from Poughkeepsie to her job at Columbia University.

"I thought I was going to have to stay in a hotel in the city, so I’m more than relieved that everything is fine and remedied."