The Chicago Transit Authority released Friday dramatic video of a passenger who was charged with splashing paint thinner around a Red Line train last month and starting a fire while duking it out with an employee and two police officers.
David Ferguson, 28, was charged with aggravated arson, aggravated battery, and held without bail. He was taken to the hospital after the incident and remains in Cook County Jail. The infernal fight occurred on a train at the Argyle station in the city's Uptown neighborhood on the North Side.
In the video, Ferguson can be seen talking with a man in a black CTA jacket. What appears to be puddles of liquid are visible on the floor.
The man in the CTA jacket, backed by two uniformed Chicago police officers, and Ferguson are the only people visible in the video.
The CTA employee appears to kick the can of flammable liquid out of Ferguson’s hands and the two get into a scuffle, prompting the officers to crowd into the train where they push Ferguson past the CTA employee and corner him in the back of the car.
It is unclear how it was sparked, but the train’s floor suddenly erupts into flames as the police grab Ferguson by the jacket, pulling it over his head, and rush him off of the train. Thick black smoke blots out the camera's view.
Firefighters arrived shortly after and put out the fire.
Jennifer Moran was on her way to a movie when she said she heard the conductor announce delays at the Argyle stop. She said the train's doors opened and a CTA employee informed the passengers it would no longer be running and everyone needed to go downstairs at the platform.
“At this point two cops that were stationed downstairs came running up the stairs to the car next to us,” she told NBC 5 at the time. “That car had been emptied, and I could see through the windows of the door that there was a man sitting and throwing stuff around while the cops tried talking to him by the doors.”
Moran said the police then told nearby CTA workers they needed to get everyone to evacuate the station.
“As I reached the downstairs of the station a man started running and tells us to run because the guy was throwing gas everywhere and had a lighter,” she said. “As soon as I stepped out the station the train went up in flames and the entire train was filled with pitch black smoke and the cops talking to him had also bolted.”
Moran said some people didn’t understand the severity of the situation and were trying to demand refunds from CTA employees.
A police officer was taken to Illinois Masonic Medical Center to be treated for minor injuries unrelated to the fire.
A CTA employee was also taken to Weiss to receive treatment for smoke inhalation, police said at the time.
Ferguson is due back in court Feb. 16.