By GREGORY N. HEIRES
Patrick Burke, an administrative project manager at New York City Transit, stopped by the Yankee Stadium station of the D subway line to do a routine check on construction.
Such visits are a regular part of his job, which includes evaluating whether contractors are meeting city regulations.
“Nothing was going on, so I was heading back to my work site,” said Burke, 59, a licensed engineer with more than 30 years on the job.
But as he proceeded to make his way out of the station, Burke spotted someone –apparently intoxicated or high—sprawled out on the train tracks.
Alarmed, Burke raced toward the man as he called for him to get up, fearing a subway train would be soon arriving at the station.
But this didn’t turn into an easy rescue.
“I got under his arms and was yanking him up on the platform,” Burke said. “But he started wrestling with me.”
Burke said he feared the man was going to pull him off the platform. The man was insisting on picking up his wallet—which had fallen out of his pocket onto the tracks–before allowing Burke to hoist him up on to the platform.
“I said, ‘You can’t get it. Someone will get it for you,’” Burke recalled. “I started yelling, ‘Help! Help! Help!”
Two nearby passengers responded and helped Burke pull the man up to the platform. A third left to contract the authorities.
Police officers and Emergency Medical Services workers soon arrived and took the man who fell on the tracks to the hospital.
“It was very scary,” Burke said, recalling the April incident. “I was wired the rest of the day. I couldn’t believe what we had gone through.
“One of the kids that came to help me called me a hero, but I have never felt of myself that way,” he continued. “I was just doing what needed to be done in the course of my job.”
Local 3652, which represents professional and technical workers at New York City Transit, honored Burke with a certificate of exemplary service for his heroic action.
“Patrick is a hero who went above and beyond the call of duty,” said Local 3652 President Gerald Lezeau. “He showed the highest standard of professional conduct and saved a customer’s life.”