Hero train operator dies trying to evacuate commuters from Harlem subway fire in New York, US
A train operator in New York, US, died trying to evacuate commuters from Harlem subway fire on Friday, 27 March 2020. Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) train operator Garrett Goble, devoted dad to two young sons, died the same way that he lived: Doing the right thing. The heroic transit worker’s body was found on the subway tracks in Harlem after evacuating terrified riders early on Friday, from a smoky subterranean blaze aboard an uptown train. The 36-year-old Goble was discovered on the roadbed in front of the No 2 train when first responders arrived to the 110th Street/Central Park North station about 3h15am. “He was the best, he really was,” said co-worker Linda Echevarria, a long-time friend. “He was a loving, kind man and he died helping others. It’s heart-breaking.” Police were attempting to determine if an arsonist set the fire in the second car of the train inside the station. A suspect was taken into custody and remained at the 28th Precinct for questioning, a New York City Fire Department (FDNY) source said. The transit worker was the only fatality in the bizarre morning incident where a charred shopping cart was found inside the Bronx-bound train. Investigators believe an accelerant in the shopping cart helped the fire spread but more tests of the evidence are needed to be sure, sources said.
Before his death, the six-year MTA veteran helped steer straphangers to safety before getting lost in the smoke-filled tunnel and collapsing, possibly from a coronary arrest, according to a source. Smoke was already pouring out of the train car and straphangers were scrambling for air when police and fire fighters arrived. The fire apparently started in the second car of the train once it stopped in the station, the flames were followed by a pair of popping noises, according to transit sources. “The train car was completely gutted,” a source said.
Goble, aged 36, was rushed by medics to Mount Sinai Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. The MTA quickly posted a $50 000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone involved in the fatal fire.
At least 16 others were injured in the wild scene, three men and a woman were also rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital with serious injuries, an additional five fire fighters were taken to local hospitals with minor injuries and at least seven others were treated at the scene.
At roughly the same time as the train blaze, several small fires were set in garbage cans on both the platforms and above ground at the 86th Street and 96th Street train stations, said NYPD Deputy Chief Brian McGee of Manhattan North Detectives. Although it was unclear if they were related, the NYPD treated both as crime scenes.
Tony Utano, president of TWU Local 100, which represents MTA employees, called Goble’s death a terrible tragedy. “For this to happen, after we lost two of our union brothers to coronavirus, is hard to comprehend,” said Utano. “Our conductor acted heroically to move passengers to the platform out of danger and deserves our deepest thanks and support for his bravery.”
Goble, along with a train conductor and a third MTA employee, managed to steer passengers out of the station as first responders arrived, said Sarah Feinberg, interim president of NYC Transit. After evacuating the first car, Goble exited the train through the front and ended up getting lost in the smoky tunnel, authorities believe. “They certainly put their lives at risk to get these people out,” said Feinberg. “There was a second train in the tunnel behind this train and the fire department helped evacuate those passengers and crew members through tunnel and through emergency exits. We are devastated by this."
Source: New York Daily News