Man On Fire

Friday night was an eventful night on the 7:16 p.m. train home from Manhattan. At the stop before mine, I, like always, began putting my book and iPod away when the train died. It literally died – there was no engine or electricity or any sound at all. I thought nothing of it until people in train cars ahead of me began running past my car window hitting the windows and yelling fire. Startled, the passengers on my car scrambled to get out the door and evacuate the train. When I stepped onto the platform I looked in the direction of everyone else and saw smoke coming from near the front of the train. The smoke, however, was not coming from the inside of the train, but from the top of it. Someone began yelling that a person on top of the train was on fire. I looked intently and saw a man climbing the outside of the train with a coat. With his free hand, the man began hitting the man on fire on top of the train with his coat in an effort to put out the fire.

I know it sounds crazy, but yes, somehow a man managed to get himself on top of the train and the electricity from the overhead wires caught him on fire. The fire was out after a short time, but he was burned and in shock and could barely sit up on top of the train. Due to the high amounts of electricity still flowing through the wires and the top of the train, the firemen who arrived could not immediately get on top to treat the man. I found a friend who ended up taking the same train home from the city and we eventually found our way home. But it was not an ordinary night on the train home, even by New York standards. I found several articles online regarding the incident, the best of which is here.

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