Who is Petrit Alijaj ? Heroic Fiancé Gets 30% Burns While Shielding Partner in New York Subway Attack

Accused Nile taylor threw a cup of inflammable liquid on Alitaj in a random attack

A man who was severely burned in a subway attack on Saturday bravely jumped in front of his fiancée to protect her. Petrit Alijaj, 23, recounted the harrowing incident from his hospital bed at New York Presbyterian-Weill Cornell Hospital.

Alijaj, originally from Albania, was covered in bandages on his upper body. He lay in bed, still in shock from the random attack. Doctors informed him that 30 percent of his body was burned, and he expects to stay in the hospital for at least a week.

NYC subway attack victim

Despite his injuries, Alijaj expressed relief at protecting his fiancée. He said he was in less pain due to medication but described the initial agony as overwhelming. The couple, along with Alijaj's cousin, were on the No. 1 train heading to the Statue of Liberty around 2:45 p.m. when they arrived at the Varick Street station in lower Manhattan.

The assailant, identified as 49-year-old Nile Taylor, boarded the train with a cup containing a flammable liquid. "He had a cup," Alijaj said, pointing to a similar cup on his bedside table. "He made fire and threw it all."

Alijaj demonstrated how he turned his body to shield his fiancée and cousin, who were next to him. His shirt caught fire, and he used his hands to extinguish the flames as he fled the train.

"I touched myself to put out the fire," Alijaj said. "So while I was running, I was burning."

Taylor also fled the train, and Alijaj feared he might return with more flammable liquid. Alijaj managed to remove his smoldering T-shirt. Initially, he didn't think his burns were severe but realized their extent when he arrived at the hospital. His injuries included burns on his neck, ears, chest, arms, and left hand.

After the attack, he was seen cooling his burns with water from an FDNY firetruck hose. Alijaj mentioned that doctors were still assessing the depth of his burns. He believed the burns might cover less than 30 percent of his body, optimistically estimating closer to 10 percent.

Despite the painful blisters on his ear, Alijaj was grateful his face was unharmed. "I can still hear," he said proudly.

Alijaj has been living in New York for about a year. Police arrested Taylor shortly after the attack. He was tracked down using a cell phone he picked up while fleeing and was caught near the Holland Tunnel.

This incident is the second flaming liquid attack on a subway rider in four months. Police are investigating if Taylor is linked to the previous incident in February.