After a commuter train travelling from Connecticut bound for New York City lost power early Sunday, transit authorities found a young actor and model on fire atop one of the cars. The 21-year-old later died from severe burns.
In a statement, Metropolitan Transportation Authority spokesman Aaron Donovan said budding actor Brian McClellen likely was set afire by mechanical arms called pantographs, that siphon electricity from 12,500-volt overhead wires.
The Metro-North train was travelling from Stamford, Connecticut, and was one of 31 trains scheduled to be serviced. When the maintenance crew found McClellen, they used a fire extinguisher to put out the flames, and he was transported to an area hospital. Though, McClellen suffered burns to 85% of his body, and later died of his injuries.
According to his agent, McClellen had been cast in a television show, as well as in a Pierce Brosnan film.
McClellen's family set up a GoFundMe fundraiser to cover his medical and funeral expenses:
The GoFundMe page reads:
Our bright, loving, and beautiful boy, Brian McClellen, left this earth suddenly on Monday, November 10, 2014. Brian passed from electric shock and suffered severe burns after a train accident early in the morning hours on November 9, 2014.
Brian grew up in North Royalton, Ohio but soon after his high school graduation he left for New York City bound and determined to live his dream of becoming a model and actor. We are so very proud he was able to accomplish his dreams.
Brian was the son of Karen Paul (nee: Kmitt) and John McClellen (deceased), brother of Jennie Holland (nee: Paul) (Craig), uncle to Lexia and Bryce, grandson, nephew, cousin and friend to many and to all that ever crossed his path.
In honor of Brian, we should all be seekers of our dreams and live each day to the fullest.
Transit authorities are investigating why McClellen might have been on top of the train, but "subway surfing" is not an unheard of activity to those seeking an adrenaline rush.