Gas fumes on the L train in Williamsburg stations were so bad on Wednesday that workers wore masks and two employees were hospitalized — but the MTA kept the route open and insisted that it was safe.
Leaked heating oil caused noxious fumes along several stops on the subway line Wednesday for the third day in a row.
“The smell is awful. To me it smells like a diesel train dumped oil down there,” said rider Theodore Toler, 63. “I take this train everyday and I’ve never smelt anything like that down there before.”
Transport Workers Union Local 100 officials say they worry for the safety of workers and riders.
“It’s unbearable, it has to be something toxic,” said Evangeline Byars, who is a train operator and TWU official.
Another union rep, Lynnwood Rychard, confirmed two workers were taken to the hospital because they were suffering headaches and couldn’t breathe.
Byars encouraged all MTA workers in L train stations or on the train to fill out injury forms so that they are covered if they develop health problems later.
“If I was on my work train and I smelled that, I would put on my full face mask and use my air monitor,” said Byars.
The MTA should shut the line down until it figures out where the gas is coming from, said Byars.
“They should stop service until they find out what that is and where it is coming from,” she said. “The MTA needs to make sure it’s safe for the train operators and the public.”
MTA officials insisted there is no danger.
“Safety is our number one priority, and the FDNY and DEC made it clear yesterday that there is no danger to our riders or workers,” said agency spokesman Maxwell Young.
“We continue to monitor air quality at the affected stations, and it has remained safe.”
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