By Daniel Massey
–By Daniel Massey
An unidentified man set a subway token booth on fire at the Northern Boulevard stop in Woodside early Tuesday morning, but the clerk escaped unharmed when the booth’s automatic fire extinguisher doused the flames, police said.
A man in his 30s approached the token booth at the G, R and V station on Northern Boulevard and Broadway shortly after 1 a.m. and squirted a flammable liquid into the booth’s change slot, police said. He then set it on fire, they said.
The booth’s automatic fire extinguisher activated immediately and the token booth clerk was not injured, police said. The clerk, Madeline White, refused medical attention, they said.
All token booths at the city’s 468 subway stations are equipped with infrared sensors that trigger the release of Halon gas when heat or flames are detected. The Halon sucks oxygen from the booth, extinguishing the flames. The system was installed citywide in 1988.
Police were still searching for a suspect and had no motive for the attack.
Train service was not disrupted and the station remained open.
The incident was reminiscent of a spate of attacks that shook the city in 1995 following the release of the movie “Money Train.” In the film, which stars Wesley Snipes, Woody Harrelson and Jennifer Lopez, a pyromaniac squirts liquid into a token booth, setting it on fire.
In one of the 1995 attacks, Harry Kaufman, who worked in a Brooklyn token booth, was killed after his booth exploded. The automatic extinguisher was not working.