Firecracker on F train sparks chaos in Manhattan; 1 injured, NYPD says

A lit firecracker on an F train caused panic at the 23rd Street station in Manhattan on Friday, police said.
A lit firecracker on an F train caused panic at the 23rd Street station in Manhattan on Friday, police said. Photo Credit: ABC / Matthias Clamer

Chaos broke out on an F train in Manhattan Friday morning after at least one firecracker was lit, sparking a stampede to get off the subway and above ground, police said.

Police and firefighters descended on the 23rd Street F train station at Sixth Avenue around 9:30 a.m. after receiving reports that a firecracker had been set off in the rear car of a packed northbound train, according to the NYPD.

Subway riders fled the train and the station, some leaving items behind in the rush to get away from the commotion, photos and videos on Twitter show.

"Any incident that happens during rush hour, on any subway, is dangerous," NYPD spokesman Tony Fidacaro said at news conference.

A 52-year-old woman who was on the platform injured her knee while running from the station and was taken to NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue in stable condition, Fidacaro said.

Investigators are trying to determine if more than one firecracker was set off and whether the incident happened at the 23rd Street station or while the train was in the tunnel after leaving the 14th Street station, Fidacaro said.

"I want to thank New Yorkers for their patience as we investigate this incident," he added. Anyone who saw what happened is being urged to call the NYPD’s tip line at 1-800-577-8477.

The MTA deployed personnel to assist customers at the station and the transit authority is working with the NYPD.

“This is criminal, dangerous and abhorrent behavior, and we are working with the NYPD to ensure whoever did this is brought to justice," NYC Transit president Andy Byford said in a statement.

There were service changes on the F and M lines as police conducted their investigation, but trains were restored around 10:15 a.m., the MTA said.

Initially, police said they also received reports of gunshots at the station, but investigators determined a gun had not been fired.