New York train operator dies after saving passengers from burning train

Ama Nunoo March 31, 2020
Garrett Goble and his family, Photo: New York Post

Many people take their jobs seriously and commit to serve till their last breath and that is a brave thing to do regardless of the risks. Sadly, a man died while trying to help his passengers escape a burning train. The No. 2 train which he was operating blew up last Friday leaving its operator, Garrett Goble lifeless after he tried helping the passengers.

According to the New York Post, there were 16 injuries during the fire of which five were firefighters. Investigators found a badly burnt grocery basket in the ruins and believe that it could be the starting point of the fire.

“As [the train] reached 110th Street here, an employee that was on the train reported to the motorman that there was heavy smoke and fire coming from the second car,” NYPD Deputy Chief Brian McGee said during a press conference. “The train stopped, and many people got off because there was a large, large fire on that train.”

The NYPD say they will investigate the incident as arson. Goble and another conductor who was not on duty assisted other passengers caught in the fire to escape the burning train.

Tony Utano, president of the Transport Workers Union Local 100, told the Post the conductor “is a little traumatized.”

“He was happy that what he did to save the passengers made him feel that he did a good thing,” Utano added. The 36-year-old was found unconscious and helpless on the train tracks. He was then taken to the local hospital where he was pronounced dead. Investigators seem to think he died of a cardiac arrest triggered by the smoke.

Delilah Goble and the deceased had two sons, a 10-year-old and a five-month-old. She said she knew something didn’t add up when Goble’s usual call didn’t come through during his usual shift. No wife wants to see the police at their doorstep when they feel something unusual is going on with their husband.

However, when Delilah heard how he stayed to help the other passengers she said she was not surprised. “It doesn’t surprise me that this is how he lost his life,” she told The New York Daily News. “He would do anything to help… He was a great guy. He was funny. He was the best father. He loved his kids so much.”

However, she admits pulling through the tragedy has not been the easiest for her and her boys. “I’m just numb. Actually, it feels like a dream. I feel like he’s going to come through the door. I don’t think I’ll ever accept this,” she told Post. “I’ll just learn to live with it. I don’t know how I’m supposed to go on without him.”

Her eldest son cannot seem to cope. “It comes in waves. Sometimes he just sits, looking out the window crying, ‘I want to see my dad,’” she said.

His mother, Vicky Goble is devastated by the accident as well. “The whole thing doesn’t make sense. Set a fire! For what reason? A good man was taken from this earth and the rest of us just have to continue on as best we can. I’m too shell-shocked to be angry,” she said.

Planning a funeral amid the coronavirus pandemic is hard because New York has been hit hard by the virus. “We are looking at funeral homes and what we are allowed [to do]. If we can’t do what we want to do, once this is over, we will have a memorial for him,” Vicky said.

His co-workers including his boss Utano is also torn by Goble’s demise. “This is a sad day for our entire city. We’re devastated,” he told reporters. Goble had been with MTA for six years. “He was starting a whole new career. He was family, and now it’s over. It’s over just like that.”

MTA Chairman and CEO Patrick Foye grieved Goble and are offering a $50,000 cash reward to any witnesses or anyone with information that could help catch the perpetrators.

 “The entire MTA family mourns [Goble’s] death alongside a grateful city,” Foye said. “Our hearts break for his family, loved ones and all those who knew him.”

A suspect was taken in by the NYPD and later released after questioning. Nonetheless, no arrests have been made yet, and the department is also offering a reward totaling $52,500.

Last Edited by:Kent Mensah Updated: March 31, 2020


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