A 36-year-old married father of two lost his life earlier this week saving passengers from a New York City subway fire.
Emergency responders found the body of Garrett Goble on the subway tracks near a station in Harlem after the blaze erupted shortly after 3 a.m. Friday, according to the New York Daily News.
He was pronounced dead at nearby Mount Sinai Hospital later that morning.
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Authorities were investigating to determine whether the fire that left nine passengers with injuries, some serious, was a case of arson. A suspect had been taken into custody and was being questioned by police, a source with the NYC Fire Department told the news organization.
The tragedy was a particular blow to New York City, considered the epicenter of the United States portion of the coronavirus pandemic. The day before, bus driver Oliver Cyrus, 61, and train conductor Peter Petrassi, 49, died of COVID-19, the Daily Mail reported.
A subway co-worker described Goble, a husband, and father of sons aged 10 and 7 months, as a gem of a person.
“He was the best, he really was,” Linda Echevarria told the News. “He was a loving, kind man, and he died helping others. It’s heartbreaking.”
A neighbor in Brooklyn described Goble as an all-around nice person who always greeted her with a hug.
“All I can tell you is he was a beautiful young man,” Katherine Gray, 73, told the News about the man who married two years ago. “I’ve known him all his life. He was a good son, an excellent father and a great husband.”
She added that she was not surprised that he would rush to help others in the middle of a crisis.
“If he did, that’s his character,” Gray told the news organization. “He would help anyone he could.”
Authorities found a charred shopping cart inside the train and believe an accelerant in the cart helped the fire spread, the News reported.
When the flames erupted, Goble reportedly jumped into action, helping guide subway passengers to safety before he disappeared into the smoke-filled tunnel, possibly getting lost, the news organization reported a source said.
Goble, a six-year veteran of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority that operates New York’s subway system, may have died of a coronary arrest, the source said.