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Red Line service restored after fire, smoke Tuesday

WASHINGTON – Metro has resumed service along the Red Line following a report of smoke and fire under a railcar at the Silver Spring station Tuesday.

Metro says the fire is believed to be mechanical in nature.

Silver Spring station fully reopened to riders leaving and coming to the station and trains were no longer single-tracking Tuesday night at about 9:20 p.m.

Metro’s website reported no Red Line delays early Wednesday morning.

Smoke and a possible fire under a railcar at the station were reported just after 6 p.m. No one was on the train at the time and no injuries have been reported, according to Metro.

The fire was out before 7 p.m.

Based on preliminary information, Montgomery County Assistant Fire Chief Scott Graham says the fire started when a collector shoe overheated. The booms that many riders reported hearing were caused when the insulators combusted.

Metro rider Zachary Kulzer believes he was on the train that caught fire in Silver Spring.

He was riding the Red Line home to Silver Spring from his job in Dupont Circle Tuesday evening when things started to go wrong between the Fort Totten and Takoma stations.

In an interview with WTOP and ABC 7, Kulzer said he saw sparks turn into fire right outside his train car.

“I’m staring out my window and the flames are right there, and someone behind me screamed. There was smoke,” said Kulzer.

At that point, he wanted out.

“Obviously when we get to Takoma station … I’m getting the hell off this train because I’m not going to wait for it to catch on fire again.”

Kulzer says someone alerted the train operator to what happened, and all the passengers were offloaded at the Takoma station.

As Kulzer boarded the next train, he heard the operator announce that a train had caught fire at the Silver Spring station and they weren’t going any further.

He thinks the train that caught fire is the same one he had been riding in.

Metro spokeswoman Caroline Lukas could not confirm that.

“I’m not certain when exactly the issue began. I do know that the train was offloaded prior to entering Silver Spring,” Lukas said.