There's no such thing as an "off-duty" firefighter, Adam Rivera says. And on Aug. 21, he proved it.
Rivera, a firefighter with Engine 10 near Ground Zero, was with his girlfriend on the N/R/Q/W uptown platform at the Union Square subway station when he spotted someone lying on the downtown tracks.
Just as an uptown train began entering the station, Rivera jumped onto the tracks in front of it, hopped over the third rail and squeezed between some pillars to get to the other track and the injured man.
"Everyone was panicking, but nobody was doing anything," said Rivera, who was nominated for a New York Post Liberty Medal in the Courage category.
"I knew I had one chance because the train was coming. When you see someone in trouble, you act."
Relying on his FDNY training, he grabbed the man from behind and used a "fireman's carry" to drag him out of harm's way. Two good Samaritans helped him lift the sick man onto the platform.
"He was like Superman," said Marco Delamo, the man who had passed out onto the tracks, suffering a fractured skull in the fall.
Rivera said he was surprised at all the kudos.
"I don't think of it as a big deal," he said.
It's just his job.