Red Line fire aftermath: new protocols, supervisor fired

We already know that excessive grease and debris on the Red Line subway tracks sparked a fire that hospitalized 19 people on June 20.

But what we are learning from a confidential report obtained by the Better Government Association is that a CTA supervisor told the Chicago Fire Department they were not needed after all when the train operator reported the fire was almost burned out. That supervisor was later fired.

According to the Sun-Times, the report:

  • Recommends changes in protocol, including using less
    lubricant on tracks.
  • Suggests calling firefighters whenever there is smoke in the
  • Requires trains to stand in a station or park at the
    nearest station whenever there is smoke in the subway.
  • Recommends a regular cleaning schedule for debris on
    the right-of-way. Debris is cleared from tracks on curves weekly and on
    the remaining track every three to four weeks.

Red Line fire.jpg

Chicago Tribune photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo



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  • Other transit systems with which I am familiar do not have such tight turns and curves. Chicago is fairly unique in this regard.

  • If the CTA weren't 150 years old they would not need to have slow zones and/or grease at every corner. They could have properly engineered tracks that don't have such tight corners. Doesn't Daley have some crony that runs a company who could engineer this?

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