Donate

Panicked Subway Riders Say Firecracker On F Train Sparked 'Full Stampede' During Friday Morning Rush Hour


Emergency personnel are responding to reports of an explosive—believed to be a firework—that went off on an F train in Manhattan on Friday morning, sparking a "full stampede" and a "chain reaction of fear," according to commuters.

A spokesperson for the FDNY said they were treating at least one person for a non-life-threatening injury after receiving reports of the chaotic scene between 14th Street and 23rd Street at about 9:30 a.m. The MTA is informing frightened customers that "someone lit a firecracker on that train which caused everyone to run."

An NYPD spokesperson confirmed that an unidentified type of firework caused the incident.

Passenger Randall Lotowycz told Gothamist: "There was a small explosion on the other end of the subway car I was on. It felt like everyone still for a moment as we processed what happened. There were smoke and everyone ran toward my end of the train. A few people were knocked down and I felt awful for a service dog who was caught up in the stampede. I jumped onto a seat just to get out of the way of everyone. As we pulled into 23rd, someone said they thought it was a firecracker."

On Twitter, one user reported that "people came flooding in from the next carriage screaming," and that it appeared someone had broken an ankle. He added that he'd "never seen such fear."

According to the MTA, there are service changes and delays on the F and M trains due to NYPD activity on 23rd Street.

A spokesperson for the transit authority could not immediately provide additional details. We'll update as more information becomes available.

Additional reporting by John Del Signore and Jen Chung

.

UPDATE: In a statement, NYC Transit President Andy Byford said, "This is criminal, dangerous and abhorrent behavior, and we are working with the NYPD to ensure whoever did this is brought to justice." Transit personnel are at the scene assisting customers, as police and firefighters investigate the felony crime, according to an MTA spokesperson. There are no suspects at this time.

At a later (unrelated) press conference, Byford described the perpetrator(s) as "some mindless idiots" who set off a "large firecracker... which caused a lot of consternation amongst riders." He also pointed out that this offense was felony reckless endangerment. "I'm very confident in the NYPD's abilities. If we can find out who did this—same as I said about another person the other day—we're going to nail them. Because that is stupid, reckless, mindless, moronic behavior it has no place on the New York subway system. It caused unnecessary consternation to people, so we're on their case."

We the Commuters is a weekly newsletter about transportation from WNYC and Gothamist. Sign up below for essential commuting coverage delivered to your inbox every Thursday.

Loading...

Featured in News