NY Daily News - March 08, 2018by JOHN ANNESE, DAN RIVOLI
Riders fearing a terrorist strike climbed over each in a stampede from an Upper West Side No. 2 train station Wednesday after a fierce fire sparked explosive sounds in a tunnel.
Eric Arnone, an attorney heading home to the Bronx, had stepped off an uptown No. 2 train at the 96th St. station around 4:30 p.m., when he heard a “thunderous series of explosions.”
“I thought it was a terrorist attack,” Arnone, 41, told the Daily News. “It sounded like bombs going off in the tunnel.”
It was not a bomb, but a smoking cable, where electricity jumped through insulation and connected to a wrong wire, “(causing) sparks — and can cause loud sounds,” according to MTA spokesman Shams Tarek.
“The fire was literally the size of the tunnel and coming towards the platform full speed ahead,” tweeted a rider named Nattie.
Arnone said the blaze and the explosive sounds were coming from the south side of the uptown tracks.
Panicked straphangers ran for the exits, he said, with people yelling, “Go, go, go!”
“It was a stampede. It was essentially what you would expect if a bomb had gone off,” Arnone said. “People were climbing over each other. It was really bad.”
Ultimately, riders were able to make it out of the station, leaving behind umbrellas and other personal items, he said.
“People were pouring out of 96th St.,” Arnone said of the scene when he left the station. “They were leaning up against the building, and crying and panicked.”
An FDNY rep said something touched the third rail, causing the smoke condition.
FDNY said three people were treated for minor injuries and released.