NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — There have been at least two fires inside subway cars over the past five days.
Cell phone video shows the 1 train in flames Friday. It happened around 10 a.m. Brendan Cochrane was riding in the next car as the train headed toward the 18th Street station.
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“There was passengers making commotion trying to get somebody’s attention that there was smoke, that there was a fire, but they had to wait to get into the station to really address this,” Cochrane told CBS2’s Ali Bauman.
When they finally pulled in, Cochrane watched from the platform. He noticed the fire was emanating from a piece of luggage.
“You could see the handle sticking out of it, and the luggage was on fire and it was melting into the seat,” he said.
That’s when the next problem occurred to him.
“There’s no fire extinguisher, there’s nothing, there’s no blankets … Eventually, the fire department came down there and extinguished the fire,” Cochrane said.
Five days later, on Wednesday, police responded to another fire on the 1 train, this time at the 181st Street station.
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We’re told MTA workers had to extinguish a burning shopping cart that was filled with debris on the train.
In both incidents, police told CBS2 the suspects fled and nobody was injured, but subway fires are not always so benign.
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Two years ago, a train operator was killed when the 2 train caught fire near the Central Park North station.
After Wednesday’s blaze, an MTA spokesperson told CBS2 in part, “We need to deal with the reality that people with mental health issues are too frequently creating situations that are dangerous and terrifying for our riders, and also for themselves.”
“I know this new mayor is inheriting a lot of things from the old mayor, but it’s a big problem to deal with,” Cochrane said.
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Last month, Mayor Eric Adams and Gov. Kathy Hochul rolled out a joint plan to flood the transit system with police officers and mental health officials.