North service to return to normal 3 days after East Harlem fire

Metro-North could return to full service Friday.

Tuesday night's fire on Park Avenue left only two of the four tracks open. A third track has been reopened and the fourth track was expected to be reopened by Friday's morning rush.

NY and Connecticut's Metro-North Railroad says it will be resuming normal service Friday after completing temporary repairs to a section of an elevated track damaged in a fire. The trains were only at 83 percent capacity, with scores of commuters choosing to stay home or travel by auto, according to a railroad spokeswoman. More Metro-North trains are running, but things are still not back to normal.

According to the MTA, six temporary steel columns were installed to brace a column damaged in the fire.

Metro-North said it would operate on an "enhanced Saturday schedule" Thursday, providing customers with additional trains during peak travel times.

Amid a day filled with headaches for commuters, FDNY officials announced on Wednesday that the cause of the fire was fuel that was accidentally spilled onto a hot generator during a refueling. Fire Department of NY spokesman Jim Long said the department had not issued permits for the handling or storage of fuel or propane at the location.

The intense fire damaged a center column beneath a viaduct holding the elevated tracks. Those commuters, some 150,000, endured hours of delays, well into Wednesday. He normally takes the 5:51 a.m. train to Grand Central. It's unclear how many of those drivers normally would have taken the train.

It was a bad day for commuting overall in the city. MTA Chairman Tom Prendergast said, "Should we have material like that stored under such a vital, critical piece of infrastructure?"

Joe Warren, who was headed from Scarsdale to Pawling to see his brother, talks about how he dealt with Metro-North disruption, May 17, 2016.