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Cook County, Illinois

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Kristina Labanauskas
Kristina Labanauskas
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Cta Fire

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Shortly after 5 p.m. on Sunday, a tunnel fire on the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) Red Line sent 19 people to hospitals for respiratory problems and smoke inhalation.

It appears that the train operator reported a fire in the subway but was told by the CTA control center to proceed through the smoke-filled tunnel after he told officials the fire had dissipated. However, while the train continued around a curve northbound toward the Clark Division station, the train operator saw flames on the track and decided it was better to go through the fire rather than sit on top of it. By passing over it, the train dragged smoke all over, however.

According to officials, railroad ties occasionally catch fire due to summer heat. This happens more often on the elevated tracks, however.

Five people were transported with serious injuries to nearby hospitals, including a 10-year-old boy who was held overnight for smoke inhalation.