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Long IslandTransportation

LIRR trains suspended, delayed after storm

A lightning-heavy storm took a toll on the Long Island Rail Road on Tuesday, possibly causing a power substation fire that forced crews to work overnight to reduce any impact on the Wednesday morning rush hour, authorities said.

The substation, just west of the New Hyde Park train station, caught fire about 8:20 p.m., forcing the LIRR to suspend service for more than two hours on the Oyster Bay, Port Jefferson and Ronkonkoma branches, the LIRR said. 

The Wednesday morning rush-hour trains were expected to run on schedule or close to it as crews made repairs overnight, the LIRR tweeted just after 11:30 p.m.

"LIRR crews will be on standby at critical locations to address any residual issues, should they arise," the railroad tweeted.  

Lightning may have hit the power plant and caused the fire, said Michael Uttaro, Nassau County assistant chief fire marshal. Firefighters had been waiting for the power to be shut down before trying to put out the flames, he said, and a hazmat crew was also on standby at the plant, located on Third Avenue and South Ninth Street.

PSEG LI workers were at the scene since 8:15 p.m. to cut off power and make the area safe for LIRR workers and firefighters to do their jobs, a utility spokeswoman said.

Other details on the fire were not immediately available.

Weather-related signal problems also peppered the branches not affected by the New Hyde Park fire, according to the LIRR website. All but the Port Washington branch in the LIRR system reported delays. The railroad warned of delays of up to 20 minutes due to signal problems.

At about 11:45 p.m., service had been restored on all branches, the LIRR tweeted, but riders were warned of delays of up to two hours on branches affected by the fire.

The problems came as storms rolled across Long Island, flooding streets and possibly causing several house fires, primarily in Nassau, officials said. No serious injuries have been reported, Suffolk and Nassau police said.

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