Followup: Copper Wire Theft Could Have Sparked Fire in Delancey Street Train Station

More this morning on yesterday’s fire and resulting evacuation of three subway lines on Delancey Street, from Essex to the Bowery. WNBC reported on its late news broadcast last night that the fire could have been caused when someone tried to steal copper wires. More details from Brian Thompson’s story:

Sources told NBC 4 New York Friday night that the fire could have been sparked when a cable fell across the third rail and a track rail as someone tried to steal an underground copper wire. The spark of electricity along the rail caused the fire and smoke condition. Another source told NBC 4 New York that investigators think the suspected copper wire theft may be part of a larger operation, and the source said tools used for cutting were found in a closet-sized enclosure in the tunnel. The source says it appears the theft has been going on for months, and in all, as many as two thousand feet of cable appear to be missing from the station.

The incident shut down the J, M and Z lines from about 2:50 p.m. through the evening rush. Around 500 people were evacuated. No one was injured.