The fire that burned on the tracks of the Orange Line last month was sparked by a detached safety sign, according to an internal investigation by the MBTA.

The track fire occurred on Aug. 23 during a Friday afternoon rush as a northbound train passed between the Wellington and Malden Center stations. Passengers were evacuated from the train, and full service resumed about four hours after the incident. No major injuries were reported.

"At that time, one warning sign made contact with both the third rail, and a 'contact shoe,'" Joe Pesaturo, spokesperson for the MBTA, said in a statement to WGBH News. A contact shoe is a part of the undercarriage that draws electricity to power the train.

The metal safety sign is one of hundreds within the MBTA system that identifies where below-grade power and close-to-the-surface signal equipment exist. The metal sign's improper contact with the electrical components ignited a high-power spark and eventually a fire, Pesaturo said.

In the statement, Pesaturo said it's unclear why the sign was not securely fastened. After the incident, he said, the MBTA launched a system-wide audit of "all similar signage," and identified seven other signs that needed additional fastening — one on the Orange Line and six on the Red Line.

Pesaturo said the MBTA is “enhancing its inspection protocols” to make sure signs along the system’s tracks remain secure.

The Orange Line shuttles passengers along an 11-mile route from Jamaica Plain, through Roxbury, downtown Boston, Somerville, Medford and Malden. This year, the line has received focused maintenance, including the installation of new rail and the addition of new cars, which were temporarily taken out of service this weekend for door maintenance.

Jarred Johnson, chief operating officer for the advocacy group Transit Matters, reacted to news of the August fire’s cause and the subsequent audit with concern and a renewed call for increased regular maintenance along the T.

“This is the second time the T has had to go back and address things based on what they found from an incident,” he said, pointing to June’s Red Line derailment. In that case, an investigation found a faulty, uninspected portion of the train’s undercarriage led to the fracturing of an axle, which caused the train car to leave the tracks.

“We’re glad that they were able to pinpoint the cause relatively quickly,” Johnson said. “But this really just highlights how we need new revenue, not only for the expansion and the new services that we need, but also just to keep up with our maintenance and modernization program.”

Johnson, a Red Line rider, said that the news only adds to what he described as riders’ sense of resignation about public transportation in and around Boston, where maintenance issues and inconsistent commutes have become commonplace.