NEW YORK – New York City has another subway hero to brag about. An off-duty emergency medical technician saved a woman who apparently intended to throw herself in front of a subway train in Brooklyn, almost ending up on the tracks as the woman tried to fight him off, the fire department said.
"It was pretty close," 38-year-old Daniel Fitzpatrick said Friday of his near-encounter with an oncoming train. "It was too close for me, put it that way."
The Thursday rescue came just over a week after 50-year-old Wesley Autrey saved a young man, and himself, from an oncoming train by placing his body over the teenager in a pit between the tracks.
Fitzpatrick found himself similarly thrust into danger as he was headed home to Franklin Square on Long Island Thursday. He was wearing his FDNY jacket when someone at the Flushing Avenue stop on the J line tapped him on the shoulder and alerted him to an apparently distraught woman.
"FDNY, I think this lady is going to jump," Fitzpatrick said the stranger told him.
Fitzpatrick said he tried to get the woman's attention, but she walked away. Not long afterward, he saw her climbing down to a utility catwalk near the tracks at the elevated station, just as a train was coming.
He went after her, grabbing her and keeping her pinned to railing on the side of the track bed. The woman kept pushing him back, and the train nearly hit his head, he said. Another straphanger grabbed his head and protected it.
Police arrived on the scene of the incident, which occurred around 4 p.m., and took the woman to a hospital. Officials Friday said they had no information on the woman's condition.
Fitzpatrick "displayed great courage in the face of danger and saved a woman from certain death," fire Chief of Department Salvatore Cassano said Friday in a release. "He, and the civilian who assisted, should be commended."
Fitzpatrick has been on the job as an EMT for the fire department for nearly three years and is training to be a paramedic. Prior to joining the emergency rescue services, he was a corporate trust officer.
He said he didn't know who the man was who helped protect his head.
"I thanked him, but I've been trying to reach out to him to thank him in person," he said. "I really appreciate what he did for me."
He said Friday that he's physically fine.
"I think I had a little too much adrenaline," he said.
It remains to be seen whether he'll get the attention Autrey received, which included a $10,000 check from real estate mogul Donald Trump. But Fitzpatrick said that's not a concern — he's just happy things worked out.