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TTC workers injured in fire at Pape station

Minor explosion and electrical fire hits after-hours maintenance train

By Jonathan Bjerg Moller and Michael Friscolante
Toronto Star Staff Reporters

Five TTC workers were taken to hospital early this morning after a minor explosion and electrical fire on board a maintenance car at the Pape subway station.

Police said four transit workers suffered minor smoke inhalation and one person suffered a broken arm during the early morning fire.

The transit workers were on their way to the St. Patrick station to remove asbestos, when the explosion shook the subway car and brought it to a sudden stop around 1:50 a.m., a transit spokesperson said this morning.

“It’s still under investigation,” said Mike Walker, TTC security chief, “but, it was some sort of mechanical malfunction.”

Walker said the maintenance car was carrying 12 workers, who were wearing their blue protective asbestos suits at the time of the incident. He said some of the minor injuries, including bumps and bruises, were likely caused when the car came to a sudden halt.

Police said early reports indicated a battery on the maintenance car exploded, causing the electrical fire. Walker said the incident will be classified as an industrial accident but it will be up to the Ministry of Labour whether to conduct an investigation. He also said the electrical system and engines are checked by the TTC everyday. The maintenance car was taken to the TTC’s Greenwood facilities for closer examination.

Walker said this morning’s fire wasn’t expected to cause any delays for commuters during the morning rush hour.

Last December, a 35-tonne garbage hauler caught fire at the Old Mill station. The $2-million fire inconvenienced more than 163,000 commuters during the morning rush hour as TTC officials scrambled to clean up the mess.