Boston Train Fire Caused by Loose Metal Hitting Electrified Third Rail, Blaze Sent Commuters Fleeing

Boston subway fire
One passenger jumped from the bridge into the Mystic River.CBS News

Chaos erupted after Boston train caught fire, prompting frightened passengers to jump from windows.

A rush-hour fire on a Boston commuter line was caused by a loose piece of metal striking the electrified third rail, officials said. The Massachusetts governor called the incident "a colossal failure."

Frightened commuters fled the blazing subway train outside Boston Thursday after fire engulfed the lead car as it was crossing the Mystic River. 

It was the latest mishap for the troubled Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. One passenger jumped into the water below to escape the fire, officials said. 

The inferno erupted at 6:45 a.m. as the Orange Line train was heading toward the Assembly station in Somerville, the transit authority said in a statement. About 200 commuters walked to waiting shuttle buses.

"Obviously, today is just a colossal failure," Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker said in a press conference after the fire. "Today we all get an F. Let’s face it," the governor said.

There was a fatal accident on the transit system this spring, and a battery explosion at the Wellington train just a few weeks ago, authorities said, prompting the authority to temporarily pull newer Orange and Red Line cars.

In June, the Federal Transit Administration stated that the MBTA needed to “raise the bar on safety." The federal agency will assist in the investigation of Thursday's fire, the governor said.

There were no injuries reported from the blaze, and the person who jumped into the Mystic declined medical attention, the train authority said.

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