Christopher Gross was watching a Mel Brooks movie on his laptop during his commute Tuesday, sitting in the front car of the northbound Metro-North train, when he felt the impact.
Flames soon engulfed the train.
"I saw flames coming at me, about a foot from my head," Gross said this morning of the fatal accident involving the New York commuter train and an SUV, which resulted in six deaths and numerous injuries.
Many of the victims were commuters, with the ensuing fire magnified by an electrified third rail of the track buckling and piercing the train car where Gross, who was uninjured, was sitting.
A man sitting nearby screamed, Gross told ABC News of the Westchester County collision. The lower section of the man's leg was gone. Multiple passengers in Gross' train car died in the accident and aftermath, authorities said. Many others were seriously injured.
One injured man helped to lead fellow passengers out of the train car, Gross said.
"Both of his hands were burned, he elbowed the emergency exit latch and started to pull the door open," Gross said.
After the man exited the train, he stuck his hands in the snow, Gross said.
Gross didn't initially realize that the train had struck a vehicle.
"Neither the engineer or the conductor got over the speaker and said that we'd hit a car," he said. "I had no idea until I got off and turned around and saw a car."