“Hey, every Chicagoan needs a CTA story and now I’ve got mine,” Leora Arsers said after one the weirdest stories to come out of the CTA. And that is some tough competition.
During the evening rush hour commute on Thursday, 26-year-old Arsers was just sitting on the Red Line minding her own business. She was on a Southbound train headed home in Lakeview.
And then, out of nowhere, the man sitting across from her started spraying her with an unknown liquid from a water bottle.
“He flung some sort of chemical on me,” she said. “I thought it might have been paint thinner, just from the smell.”
Arsers and other passengers moved to another car. One of the other passengers told Arsers that he saw this man setting fire to some of the seats on the El.
At the Argyle station in Uptown, the train came to a stop and the conductor went to the car with a fire extinguisher. Officers from the police department and fire department arrived. Strangely, a bag was on fire at the Argyle station as well, but it is unclear if these two incidents are related.
The man responsible for all of this was taken into custody and although there were delays, normal train service resumed within an hour of the incident.
Both a CTA employee and a police officer were taken to hospitals for smoke inhalation and other minor injuries. Arsers was not treated for any injuries, but the Tribune did note that she still smelled like fumes for awhile after the incident.
She used rideshare to eventually get home.
Just another reminder to always remain aware of your surroundings on the CTA. At least this time, it wasn’t a sock filled with feces.