PHILADELPHIA -- Transit police in Philadelphia are calling a former Beaver County resident a hero for jumping onto subway tracks to help a man who had fallen off of a platform.
Christopher Knafelc, 32, was waiting for a train Thursday afternoon in north Philadelphia when he saw a man fall onto the tracks. He jumped down to help the man, knowing that a train would be arriving in a few minutes.
"I had a plan if a train came, I was going to roll him underneath," Mr. Knafelc told WPVI-TV, "or if I couldn't, I was going to ask someone to jump down and help me roll him."
He held the man's head and neck stable until firefighters arrived. Train traffic was halted.
"I was like 99.9 percent positive that I wouldn't get electrocuted," Mr. Knafelc told the Philadelphia Daily News. "I can't see [the tracks] being able to electrocute you because too many people would get hurt."
The police chief for the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority called Mr. Knafelc a hero.
"This is what Philadelphia is all about," Chief Thomas J. Nestel said.
Investigators don't know what caused the man to fall onto the tracks.
He was taken to a hospital where he was in stable condition.
"He didn't thank me, but I know he was thankful," Mr. Knafelc told the Daily News. "You know what I mean? In my heart, I believe he was."
Mr. Knafelc said he has battled substance abuse since he was in middle school in Baden, where he said he was first introduced to OxyContin and moved on to heroin when he was in high school.
He said he studied neuroscience at the University of Pittsburgh but dropped out as his addiction worsened, then spent a decade in and out of rehab.
He came to Philadelphia, where his mother and a cousin live, two years ago to get his life back on track, he said.
"With addiction, you really struggle to be you," he told the newspaper.
"I reacted, and that was me. It helps reinforce that I am good. That I am a good person."neigh_west