Newly-released footage shows a falling ceiling panel nearly hitting an MBTA rider walking on the platform of Harvard Station in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Days after the insulation panel fell at the Red Line stop, Interim MBTA General Manager Jeffrey Gonneville ordered many similar panels to be removed systemwide.
Interim MBTA General Manager Jeffrey Gonneville said the panel fell "very close" to a rider Wednesday afternoon, and that "we are extremely fortunate that there wasn't an injury as a result." Surveillance footage shows it dropping directly in front of a passenger.
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The 25-pound insulation panel came down on the southbound platform Wednesday just before 4 p.m. No one was injured, but a second panel was removed from the ceiling in the aftermath.
"I said, 'Oh, look, at that, the ceiling's falling down," said Peter D'Angelo, who was heading to lunch at the time. "I turned around, got a debris cloud of black dust, or mold — who knows — to the face. If that had hit me, my next stop would have been some sort of medical operation."
Following an inspection of the station that found, at least preliminarily, that corrosion from water caused the piece of metal, weighing 20 to 25 pounds, to crash down, panels at stations systemwide will be taken down where they only have an aesthetic use. Already, about 10 have been removed at Harvard Station, and a full audit of station ceilings across the T will take weeks, Gonneville said
He called it "the most recent example of the work we have ahead of us to bring the system back into good repair."
Asked what he'd say to riders concerned that gaping holes in station ceilings might make them look shabby, Gonneville said, "Anyone that rides our system and knows our system is very familiar with the condition of our system," and added that it's necessary for inspectors to get access to such spaces.
Riders who spoke with NBC10 Boston were troubled by the incident.
"I'm about to go down there right now, and I'm going to be looking up at the ceiling panels," commuter Lisa Simpson said Friday.
"I would never have thought anything like that would have happened at a T station," said Annie Trainque. "They should really be taking better care of the facilities."
"I think it's really a threat," said Sheila Irvine. "And I think this infrastructure and repair has to happen."