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"I'm safer in the water": Passenger in burning Orange Line train recounts her jump into Mystic River

200 passengers escape burning Orange Line train, 1 jumps into Mystic River
200 passengers escape burning Orange Line train, 1 jumps into Mystic River 03:31

SOMERVILLE -- Of the roughly 200 passengers who escaped a burning MBTA Orange Line train Thursday morning on a bridge over the Mystic River, one woman actually jumped off the train and into the water.

According the MBTA, the flames and smoke started pouring out of the first car of the train around 6:45 a.m. while it was heading towards Assembly station in Somerville. Passengers described hearing a loud explosion or loud bang and then smoke filled the train car. People then tried prying doors open and punching the glass out of windows in order to get out on the train tracks.

But the woman who jumped into the river told WBZ-TV's Anna Meiler that she didn't feel comfortable getting out on solid ground.

"I was very scared for all of us. We had no idea what was happening. It was like pandemonium," said the woman, who did not want to be publicly identified. "I think I'm safer in the water right now than walking down the tracks."

Jennifer Thomson, who was on the burning Orange Line train, recalled the moment the woman jumped.

"Some woman's going, 'No, no, don't do that. Don't jump.' And we look into the water, and some woman had actually jumped off the bridge into the river and was swimming away. Luckily, they weren't drowning, but still, we were like, 'Oh my God, what is even happening?'" Thompson said.

The woman who jumped into the river did not require medical attention. 

As for the rest of the passengers on board, firefighters helped them get off after opening the back of the train. They then walked along the train tracks to Wellington Station and got on the platform there.

The train was later towed to Wellington Station. MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak said it appears a piece of the bottom of the train came loose and hit the third rail, sparking the fire.

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