Smoke Fills Back Bay Station

Riders smashed windows to flee an Orange Line train.

Several commuters received treatment after smoke filled the Back Bay MBTA station with smoke late Wednesday afternoon.

Transit police tell the Globe that five passengers received treatment. Their injuries were not described as life-threatening.

It was not immediately certain what went wrong on the train.

“The MBTA has not determined the cause of the incident at this time, however, it is believed the smoke situation was most likely related to the motor,” MBTA spokesman Joe Pesaturo wrote in an emailed statement.

Videos taken at the station show a chaotic scene. Panicked commuters smashed windows to escape the train while smoke poured into the T stop. The sounds of coughing could be heard as commuters evacuated.

Pesaturo says troubles began on the northbound Orange Line train at 4:39 p.m. Wednesday, when its operator called in a “propulsion issue” that produced smoke as the train started to pull away from the station.

Pesaturo says the train’s doors “did not malfunction,” and that the train’s driver had begun opening them to let passengers out when things escalated.

“[A]s the motor person began to walk into cars to evaluate the situation he noticed smoke and began to alert passengers and start opening doors to allow passengers out. Because no announcement had been made on the intercom, some passengers, understandably, began to self-evacuate through windows,” Pesaturo says.

He says the T will “will conduct a full investigation to determine the cause of the incident.”


The MBTA suspended Orange Line service between Haymarket and Jackson Square. Commuters were advised to board the Green Line for service downtown, and the T announced it would shuttle passengers between Jackson Square and Copley Square on buses. Service has since resumed.