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12 Injured In New York City Subway Fire

August 2, 1996

NEW YORK (AP) _ An electrical fire on a subway line under the East River today forced the evacuation of dozens of subway riders and left 12 people hospitalized, authorities said.

Firefighters put out the blaze under the Manhattan-bound E train by 5 a.m., 2 1/2 hours after the train’s operator first reported heavy smoke in the tunnel, Transit Authority spokeswoman Melissa Farley said.

About 60 people were aboard the train traveling from the Ely Avenue and 23rd Street station in Queens to the 53rd Street and Lexington Avenue station in Manhattan.

The passengers waited nearly an hour before another train returned them to the Queens station.

Seven firefighters and five civilians were taken to area hospitals, authorities said. The firefighters suffered from heat exhaustion and the civilians suffered from smoke inhalation.

The fire broke out under the first car after a cable melted onto an electric rail, dispatcher Wali Shareef said.

Subway service was suspended on three lines and delayed on three others this morning because of the fire.

Update hourly