NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Fire marshals are questioning a person of interest following a deadly subway fire early this morning in Harlem, police sources tell CBS2.

Investigators are still working to determine whether the blaze was intentionally set.

There was tragedy below ground early Friday morning. A train operator was killed in the fire.

Plumes of smoke could be seen above ground as first responders rushed to the scene.

Police have launched a criminal investigation.

(credit: Twitter/@TripleG_RTO)

The inside of the second car of northbound 2 train was left totally destroyed by the fire. Seats and overhead lights were completely melted, with nothing left but metal and black ash in the aftermath.

The MTA says the train pulled into the 110th Street Central Park North station around 3 a.m.

Interim New York City Transit President Sarah Feinberg says those inside were rescued by fast-acting workers.

Watch: News Conference On Subway Fire

“Two employees on the train successfully evacuated passengers off the train and onto the platform,” Feinberg said.

Firefighters also evacuated people who were on board a train that was behind the one that caught fire, and passengers were guided safely through the tunnel to an emergency exit, Feinberg said.

Unfortunately the train operator wasn’t able to make it out alive. At least nine other people were injured, Feinberg said.

“Absolutely heartbroken to share the news that one of our New York City Transit family members passed away as a result of an incident this morning,” said Feinberg. “We are devastated by this. This is a hard moment for New York City Transit. A devastating incident. Our hearts and prayers are with our families, with our workforce, and with the family of and loved ones of our family member who has passed away… This is another horrific moment for our family.”

The Transit Workers Union said the motorman was a 36-year-old Garrett Goble, who lived in Brooklyn. He was a member of the MTA for six years and leaves behind two children, including a 5-month-old.

At the moment, it doesn’t seem the fire was caused by accident.

“Right now we’re investigating several things. There were other fires that we are looking at that we have to see is connected to this on 86th Street and 96th Street, we’re looking at that. We’re also looking at a fire on 116th Street as we speak,” said Deputy Chief Brian McGee of the NYPD. “This is a criminal investigation, absolutely.”

The fires at 86th Street and 96th Street were on the platform. The fire at 116th Street was on street level, McGee said.

McGee says the NYPD will go through every piece of evidence available.

People in the neighborhood told CBS2’s Kevin Rincon if the fire was intentionally set, they want justice.

“If somebody is deliberately setting it, then they need to get to it and find out who it was. Because a life was taken. Somebody basically murdered someone, whether they’re aware of it or not,” one person said.

Anyone with any information is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477), or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). You can also submit a tip via their website or on Twitter, @NYPDTips. All calls are kept confidential.

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Comments (3)
  1. Steve says:

    Why aren’t the seats made of the same fire proof material as prison furniture?

  2. Oveida Sinclair says:

    Well if Da Mayor can’t control the virus and lock down his 50%+ infected city, the citizens must step in. I seen pictures of subway cars full of people yesterday on the news, New York has 47% or the Wuhan Virus victems in it’s state alone !

  3. Peter York says:

    how to start a New York City subway fire.

    1. light match
    2. ignite car

    any questions?

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