- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 17, 2016

NEW YORK (AP) - A massive fire underneath elevated train tracks in New York City has halted service and stranded thousands of commuters.

More than 150 firefighters responded to the blaze, which broke out Tuesday evening at a garden nursery center beneath Metro-North tracks in East Harlem, fire officials said.

Service into and out of Grand Central Terminal remained suspended on all three Metro-North lines until further notice. Trains were still running north of the site.

Metro-North said it would run a Saturday schedule for the Wednesday morning rush hour with trains stopping in the Bronx so passengers could connect to subway service into Manhattan.

Metro-North said nearly 100 personnel would work through the night to inspect the structure for any damage and to make temporary repairs.

“There were four or five explosions. Flames were roaring. Everything under the overhead was burning,” retired handyman Kenny Washington, 33, told the Daily News.

The fire also involved construction debris, several trailers and vehicles and may have blown off bolts from the tracks, fire officials said. Structural engineers were assessing any damage to the rails.

Officials are still investigating the cause of the fire, which forced evacuations to buildings on both sides of the tracks.

One firefighter suffered a minor injury, but no civilians were hurt.

Stranded commuters jammed into Grand Central waiting for word on when Metro-North service would be fully restored.

Passengers late Tuesday were advised to take subway service to the Bronx in order to connect to Metro-North trains.

Susan Hynson, of Rye, said she was on a Metro-North train that returned to Grand Central.

“We went out, we had just come out of the tunnel, and they brought us back in,” Hynson told the Daily News. “I want to try to find an Uber, a bus, whatever to get us back to the suburbs.”

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