Man Set on Fire by Attacker Riding Subway

A man in New York City suffered severe burns after a random attack on a subway train, where an assailant threw a flaming liquid at him. The victim, Petrit Alijaj, 23, shielded his fiancée from the attack, sustaining burns on approximately 30% of his body. Alijaj, who was heavily bandaged, recounted the horrifying incident from his hospital bed.

The attack occurred on a Saturday when Alijaj, his fiancée, and his cousin were on their way to visit the Statue of Liberty. The assailant later identified as Nile Taylor, 49, boarded the train carrying a cup filled with a liquid substance. Alijaj described the cup as being similar to one on his bedside table, possibly smaller, and filled with a substance resembling oil.

According to Alijaj, Taylor ignited the liquid and threw it at him. The substance quickly set Alijaj’s shirt on fire. In a desperate attempt to extinguish the flames, Alijaj began slapping the fire with his hands. “While I was running, I was burning,” he said. He managed to remove his shirt to put out the flames, but not before suffering significant burns.

Alijaj expressed concern that Taylor had left the train to retrieve more of the liquid. He initially didn’t realize the severity of his burns until blisters began to form upon his arrival at the hospital. The extent of the burns is still being assessed.

Despite the pain and trauma, Alijaj stated that he would do it again to protect his fiancée. “I protect my fiancée with my body,” he said. Doctors expect him to remain in the hospital for at least another week or two.

Following the incident, the suspect attempted to flee but was appreh by law enforcement. The incident caused delays in the transit system, with southbound 1 trains running late as NYPD responded to the disruption.