Bear repellent sprayed inside Sound Transit light rail

Up to 10 people needed help removing chemicals from their eyes on Saturday after authorities said someone sprayed bear repellent inside a train near Stadium station in Seattle.

The person who unloaded the repellent around 5:30 p.m. left the scene, and details were not immediately available about what led to the incident, Sound Transit spokeswoman Rachel Cunningham said. Police have yet to identify the person who sprayed the crowd and left the train when it stopped, Seattle Police Department Detective Patrick Michaud said. Light rail trains are equipped with cameras covering many angles inside and outside the carriages.

The train was diverted to a free track next to the station, where police arrived and passengers were evacuated, according to Cunningham. A total of 17 people were directly or indirectly exposed to the spray, she said.

The Seattle Fire Department responded and tweeted that up to 10 people needed help clearing the chemicals from their eyes.

Full service resumed, with delays expected on the 24-mile line, just before 6 p.m. A passenger at District U station said he waited 30 minutes and about 100 people piled in there until the next train showed up.

Nick DeVaux, from Puyallup, waiting on the line at Angle Lake Station to head north, said around 75 to 90 people gathered there not knowing when a train might arrive, for half an hour. “It’s hot, it’s 94 degrees outside. Some people take their shirts off,” he said. “Everyone keeps watching the tracks expecting something to happen.”

Then at 6:22 p.m. a train arrived, the bells rang. DeVaux said his group went to the Seafair Torchlight Parade in downtown Seattle and tried to do the right thing by taking the train and avoiding parking downtown.

Efficient public transit is especially vital this weekend due to Saturday night’s parade and roadwork on southbound Interstate 5 in Sodo. Cunningham called the incident “a significant impact on southbound trains”.

Jose P. Rogers