Michelle Kim

Fires Break Out at Penn Station, Building Above Grand Central

Both fires were under control quickly, but sent firefighters scrambling between two of the nation's busiest train terminals at exactly the same time

What to Know

  • Two fires broke out separately at Penn Station and the office building above Grand Central Terminal Wednesday morning
  • Six people were injured in the Graybar Building fire, where witnesses reported seeing thick smoke on a high floor
  • The fire at Penn Station was caused by track debris, Amtrak said; no one was hurt and train service didn't appear to be affected

A pair of fires at Grand Central Terminal and Penn Station Wednesday morning have sent firefighters scrambling to two of the nation's busiest train terminals.  

The fire at Grand Central Terminal was reported in the high-rise office building above the terminal, the Graybar Building at 43rd Street and Lexington Avenue, shortly before 9:30 a.m. More than 85 firefighters responded.

People working inside the building say they were initially told to stay in place, but decided to leave on their own after seeing thick smoke as high as the 30th floor. Authorities say it was an electrical fire that broke out in a supply closet on the mezzanine level. 

Six people suffered smoke inhalation-related injuries in the blaze, which was under control shortly before 11 a.m., the FDNY says. Three of the victims went to a hospital; the others were treated at the scene.

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A short time later, firefighters were called to Penn Station across town for a track fire. According to Amtrak, which owns and leases the tracks, debris caused a small fire to break out on Track 14. It was under control within about half an hour. No one was hurt, but social media users described heavy smoke. Amtrak said it was usin exhaust fans to ventilate the area. 

The railroad also said Track 14 would be out of service until later Wednesday afternoon, though minimal impact to train operations was expected. Neither NJ Transit nor the MTA reported any service-related issues because of the fire.

Service issues at Penn erupted later, though, for a different reason. A train became disabled in one of the Hudson River tunnels shortly before 1 p.m., stranding riders. NJ Transit said passengers did have lights and heat. No injuries were reported, and there were no evacuations. A rescue train was sent.

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