What to Know
- A man has died and more than a dozen people were hurt, several of whom are fighting for their lives, after a blaze in a Manhattan subway station
- An apparent emotionally disturbed person is being questioned in connection with the fire, two senior law enforcement officials say
- At this point, it's too early to tell if the fire was a deliberate act or if the man being questioned had a role in it, but the blaze is being treated as suspicious, the senior officials said
At least one man died and several other people suffered life-threatening injuries when a fire broke out inside an underground subway station in Manhattan early Friday, authorities say.
An apparent emotionally disturbed person is being questioned by investigators in connection with the fire, two senior law enforcement officials said. It is too soon to say if the fire was a deliberate act or if the man played a role in it, the officials said, although two law enforcement sources told NBC New York the man may have had a cart on fire while on board the train. At this point, authorities are treating the incident as suspicious, officials said.
NYPD, FDNY fire marshals and ATF investigators responded to the scene, the subway station at 110th Street Central Park North. The initial call came in shortly before 3:30 a.m. Large plumes of smoke were seen billowing from grates on the street.
"It's in the subway station so there's no ventilation or limited ventilation. Besides that, you have to get the hose lines down through turnstiles which are also secured and everything. It made it a difficult operation but that's what we do. We overcome and we put it out," an FDNY spokesperson told reporters.
The union identified the man who died after being rushed to the hospital as 36-year-old Garrett Goble, who they called "a young man serving the public during a national crisis." TWU Local 100 President Tony Utano went on to say that Goble "acted heroically to move passengers to the platform out of danger."
Goble had worked with the MTA for six years, and had a 5-month-old child.
“This is a terrible tragedy for this young train operator, his family, and for the entire transit workforce. A young man serving the public during a national crisis was killed at just 36 years of age," TWU Local 100 President Tony Utano said in a statement. "Our conductor acted heroically to move passengers to the platform out of danger and deserves our deepest thanks and support for his bravery."
A total of 16 other people, some of them firefighters, were hurt. At least four of the surviving victims are said to be fighting for their lives.
Train service along the 2/3 line was interrupted for the morning hours, but was eventually restored.
The NYPD is asking for help identifying the person or people responsible for setting the fire, and is offering up to a $52,000 reward for information. Anyone with information is asked to contact the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 800-577-TIPS (8477).