First responders rushed underground on Tuesday in Harlem, ready to do whatever was necessary to help after a subway train barreled off the tracks during the height of the morning commute.
For FDNY EMT Tuanika Brown, that meant carrying a tiny crying tot to safety and making sure his mother was all right amid the chaos and confusion of the crash.
“When we got down to the platform there were tons of patients, there was a mother in distress her baby was hot and crying,” she said. “We took him upstairs to cool down. The mother has a history of asthma and we treated her too.”
Some 34 straphangers were injured when two cars of the Brooklyn-bound A train veered off the tracks north of the 125th St. station about 9:45 a.m., authorities said.
Cuomo, de Blasio steer clear of Harlem A train derailment site
Hundreds of people began walking through the dark and smoke-filled tunnels to get away from the crumpled train.
Firefighters, EMTs and police officers rushed underground to shepherd them to safety.
“It could have been a disaster,” Brown said. “Thank God everyone is in stable condition.”
MTA officials said the train’s emergency brake was activated before the derailment but investigators were still working to determine what caused it.
Harlem A train derailment injures 34 riders, disrupts service
The infant, whom Brown said was named Yousef, was suffering from heat exhaustion when she and her colleagues reached him on the 135th St. platform.
Brown, 27, from Uniondale, Long Island, has worked as an EMT at FDNY Station 16 at Harlem Hospital for three years. She said instinct kicked in as soon as she and the other emergency responders were underground.
“We gave the baby and mother oxygen. The baby and her are doing fine,” she added. “They were in the first car of the derailed train.”
Brown was humble about her heroics.
Commuters face messy rush hour after A train derailment
“It’s the job. It’s about having a heart and having focus,” Brown added. “It makes you feel like a hero everyday.”
EMTs set up staging areas near the subway entrances and exits as passengers streamed out into the sunny Harlem morning.
Ericksson Olivo, a fellow FDNY EMT who covers Harlem and Washington Heights with Station 13, said he arrived just as Brown was coming out with the baby boy in her arms.
“She just happened to come out with the baby, the minute I saw her coming up with the baby, I just went to give her a hand and put her in the ambulance,” he said. “The fact that it was a baby hits the panic button until we can do an assessment of them.”
The child and his mother were taken to Harlem Hospital where they were treated and released.
“No matter what the challenge is, the EMT’s & Paramedics of FDNY EMS are well prepared for incidents like this,” said Oren Barzilay, the newly-elected president of EMS Local 2507. “The years of drills, training has shown our city we will be in the front lines to help those in need.”
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