Debris fire hits LIRR, trains to LI rolling again

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A debris fire on Long Island Railroad tracks in Queens temporarily shut down all train service into and out of Penn Station for up to 20 minutes Sunday night and has affected eastbound service to three stations in Queens, officials said.

The fire started sometime before 8 p.m., when all service to Penn Station was shut down, said LIRR spokesman Michael Lewi. Most service was restored by 8:15 p.m., Lewi said. The fire was located just east of the East River Tunnel on the tracks in Long Island City.

Eastbound trains were not stopping at Kew Gardens and Forest Hills Sunday night, Lewi said. Passengers must go to Jamaica and then transfer to a westbound train for stops in those two stations, he said. Woodside-bound passengers must take Port Washington line trains.

The cause of the fire is still being investigated. Lewi said it was unclear when full service would be restored.

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New York City subways and buses are accepting LIRR passes to those stations in lieu of MetroCards, Lewi said.

The blaze comes two weeks after a fire outside the Jamaica station burned an antiquated signal and track-switching system, causing massive service delays and cancellations.

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