The NYPD previously said it believed the incident to be arson, and detectives are now investigating whether it may be connected to other fires in the transit system.
The fire broke out at 3:18 a.m. Friday at the 110th Street Subway Station at Lenox Avenue.
Upon arrival, firefighters found heavy fire inside the subway station coming from the subway cars. Heavy smoke and high heat confronted firefighters, and the fire quickly went to a second alarm.
MTA motorman Garrett Goble, 36, was pronounced dead at St Luke's Hospital. He leaves behind his wife Delilah and his two children.
Four others were in serious condition.
Another 12 people were treated for minor injuries, including five firefighters.
When firefighters were able to get to Garrett, it was too late--Garrett's body was found lying on the tracks not too far from the train and unresponsive.
Garrett's wife does not doubt that her husband died, helping others get off the train.
Delilah last spoke with her husband 2 hours before the 36-year-old was killed. Several hours later, she sent him this text because she had heard about the fire on and was worried. Delilah never heard back.
"The way he lost his life is how he lived his life, he would help anyone," said Delilah.
Delilah says it breaks her heart, telling her son Noah that his best friend is now gone.
"I feel like I'm in a dream, and I can't get up, I have two kids, and I tell myself I have to be strong, deal with my son's pain before my own," said Delilah.
A person of interest was questioned Friday but released by the NYPD.
The fire began inside a northbound two train as it was entering the 110th Street station, authorities said. Garrett was found dead on the tracks, apparently after evacuating the train that was on fire.
Investigators are looking into whether the same person set several other fires in the transit system.
Chief Rodney Harrison on Twitter: "The @NYPDnews is asking for the public's assistance identifying the person(s) responsible for setting a fire and causing the death of an MTA motorman.
Anyone with information in regard to the identity of the person(s) responsible is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 800-577-TIPS (8477) or DM @nypdtips— Chief Rodney Harrison (@NYPDDetectives) March 28, 2020
"There are other fires that we are looking at, we have to see if they are connected to this, 86th street and 96th street, within the transit system," said NYPD Deputy Chief Brian McGee. "We're also looking at a fire on 116th Street as we speak. The most important thing I need is witnesses to come forward, 800-577-TIPS."
"As all of you know, this has been a devastating week for NYC Transit, and this is another horrific moment for our family," said Sarah Feinberg, Interim MTA President.
MTA Chairman and CEO Patrick J. Foye released a statement saying:
"It is with great sorrow that we share news of the tragic loss of one of our brave colleagues, a New York City Transit train operator who died in the line of duty this morning after a significant fire that occurred onboard a train he was operating. Our colleague was a young man who had served the people of New York City at Transit for many years. The entire MTA family mourns his death alongside a grateful city. Our hearts break for his family, loved ones, and all those who knew him. The NYPD is actively investigating the incident for criminality. In addition to $2,500 offered by Crime Stoppers and the Police Foundation, the MTA is offering up to $50,000 for information that leads to the arrest, indictment, and conviction of the person(s) responsible for this terrible tragedy."
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