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Metro-North Employees Honored For Daring Rescue

Railroad Tracks (file / credit: clipart.com)

Railroad Tracks (file / credit: clipart.com)

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. (CBSNewYork) - Four Metro-North Railroad employees were honored Thursday morning at a breakfast in New Haven for a daring rescue along the tracks in West Haven.

WCBS 880 Connecticut Bureau Chief Fran Schneidau On The Story

The Connecticut Region of the American Red Cross named the four workers as their 2012 Heroes of Greater New Haven.

On March 17, 2011, a man described by Metro-North as a trespasser got himself caught in a railroad transmission poll.

When trainmaster Phil Wilhelmy heard about this from a dispatcher at Metro-North’s operations control center, he raced to the scene.

Metro-North spokesperson Margie Anders said his quick-thinking, along with the help of power department workers Bob Doody, Mike Buonaiuto, and Frank Langston, saved the lives of arriving firefighters as they quickly shut off the power.

“These poles that carry the power for the New Haven Line are 13,000 volts,” Anders told WCBS 880 Connecticut Bureau Chief Fran Schneidau on Thursday. “There’s no way to tell whether it’s live or not unless you’re an electrician, which is why he quickly called the power department.”

“Phil is a great asset at Metro-North,” said Metro-North President Howard Permut. “Every day, he demonstrates his professionalism. In responding to potentially deadly incidents such the one for which he is being recognized today, he shows that he lives by Metro-North’s No. 1 rule: Safety first.”

Anders told Schneidau the trespasser was trying to steal copper wire. The man, identified as Milton Omar Colon of New Haven, lost both of his legs after being severely burned during the incident.

Despite the daring rescue on the part of the Metro-North workers, Colon has filed an intent to sue Metro-North over the incident, Schneidau reported.

Do you think Colon should be suing Metro-North? Sound off in the comments section below!