An electrical fire spread smoke through a subway tunnel under the East River Friday, killing one person and injuring more than 100, officials said.
Transit Authority spokeswoman Caren Gardner said the death occurred after a weather-related fire broke out on the electrified third rail in the subway tunnel underneath a Brooklyn street.Originally, she said two persons died. But medical staff at Long Island College Hospital managed to revive a woman whom authorities at the scene had believed to be dead, said hospital President Harold Light. He added that the dead man was not immediately identified.
"We really thought we were gone, that we wouldn't see New Year's," said Gertrude Hoyte, a 51-year-old Brooklyn resident who was on her way to work in Manhattan.
She described how smoke filled the subway cars, causing people to panic and several to vomit into their newspapers.
Lynn Schulman, a spokeswoman for Emergency Medical Services, said there were about 100 people injured in the accident, which occurred about 9:10 a.m. in the tunnel used by the No. 2 and No. 3 subway lines. Police later said the number of injured, all apparently from smoke inhalation, may be as high as 140.
The fire on the third rail apparently occurred when snow from streets above leaked into the subway system and onto wires on the tracks.