At 4:30 p.m., e.d.s.t., on August 8, 1973, an automobile carrying five teenagers was driven onto the electrified tracks of the Long Island Railroad by an unlicensed 15-year-old girl. The car's contact with the third rail caused a short circuit and initiated severe electrical arcing. The car immediately began to burn at the front, and the fire spread to the rear. The two girls in the front seat escaped through the right door. Both fled from the automobile and the scene of the accident. The three girls in the back seat died in the fire.
Loss of life in this accident was caused by difficulty in escaping from the back seat of the two-door automobile and by the rapid spread of fire. The rapid spread of fire was contributed to by the continued electrical arcing permitted by the design of the railroad electrical supply system, which did not assure complete removal of power after a severe short circuit.