Frantic Subway Riders Stampede as 'Ball of Fire' Erupts in Manhattan Station

'Ball of Fire' Sparks Frantic Stampede in NYC Subway Station

What to Know

  • An arcing cable set off flames and smoke in a Manhattan subway station, sparking a frantic straphanger stampede

  • One person was taken to a hospital with minor injuries after the mayhem unfolded around 4:30 p.m. Wednesday

  • MTA spokesman Shams Tarek says the cable's insulation failed and that caused sparks, smoke and popping sounds

Panicked passengers stampeded in a Manhattan subway station after an arcing cable set off flames and smoke as the peak afternoon rush got underway Wednesday.

The FDNY says one person was taken to a hospital with minor injuries after the mayhem unfolded around 4:30 p.m. on the Upper West Side.

Bryan Murphy tells the New York Post that he saw sparks and a "ball of fire." He says people started running, screaming and falling.

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The Bronx teacher added in a Facebook post that he got caught in a cluster of people near the stairwell and couldn't move. He said he feared he would die.

A Twitter post described belongings scattered on the train platform as people fled. Another user recounted the abject chaos.

"I was on 96th street on the last cart of the uptown 2 train when everyone just started running off screaming," wrote @missez_nattie. "I honestly didn’t know why I was running but I ran. I turned around and it was a huge fire/explosion on the train track. The fire was coming towards the platform."

MTA spokesman Shams Tarek says the cable's insulation failed and that caused sparks, smoke and popping sounds.

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