Metro-North commuters recount ride after explosion

SOUTH NORWALK, Conn. (WTNH) — Acknowledging their concerns over commute paled in comparison to those more directly affected by yesterday’s deadly explosion in East Harlem, Metro-North commuters took back to the rails on Thursday.

As regular service resumed on tracks that were strewn with debris on Wednesday, commuters recounted the day and said their thoughts were with those who lost their home or knew one of the seven fatalities.

“Yesterday I was on the train that was just behind the explosion,” said Aduke Thelwell. “Everyone got off the train and was standing there looking at the plumes of smoke going up and not really know what to do.”

“We got stalled at Rye,” said Garrett Ramos of Weston. “We heard about the accident before the conductors even heard about it.”

Firefighters, lower left, pour water on the site of a building explosion, as a Metro-North commuter train, right, passes the site on Thursday, March 13, 2014 in New York. Rescuers working amid gusty winds, cold temperatures and billowing smoke pulled four additional bodies Thursday from the rubble of two New York City apartment buildings, raising the death toll to at least seven from a gas leak-triggered explosion that reduced the area to a pile of smashed bricks, splinters and mangled metal. The explosion Wednesday morning in Manhattan's East Harlem injured more than 60 people. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
Firefighters, lower left, pour water on the site of a building explosion, as a Metro-North commuter train, right, passes the site on Thursday, March 13, 2014 in New York.  (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

Kim Rachidi, a South Norwalk commuter, said she heard about the explosion as the train pulled up to 125th Street.

“There was an announcement that there was some sort of explosion ahead that had affected the tracks,” she said.

At that point, Rachidi said, commuters banded together.

“We shared a ride back home with a car service and he had been someone who had been through the tragedy of 9/11, so it brought back a lot of hard memories for him,” she said. “So I was glad I could be with him.”

While Rachidi made her way home, others trudged on to work.

“In my mind, if the subway was still open that was an indication that it wasn’t an extreme emergency or something was really wrong,” said Thelwell. “So, I went on my way to work.”

And any fear among commuters turned to shows of kindness, she said.

“I think everyone was like let’s pitch in and get to work and people were trying to crack the tension making jokes.” Thelwell said.

“Everyone was in good spirits about it that was the nice thing about it at least from our side,” said Ramos.

“My heart goes out to all those people that I know spent the night without a home last night  and I hope that they’re all finding their way,” added Ramos, knowing his wait was nothing compared to what was lost yesterday in East Harlem.

Reporting: Stephanie Simoni

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