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Actor found on fire atop a New York-bound train, later dies

A fledging actor and model was found on fire on top of a stalled commuter train in Connecticut and later died from his severe burn injuries, a transit spokesman said on Monday.

The crew aboard a Metro-North train traveling from Stamford, Connecticut, to New York City discovered Brian McClellen burning on top of a carriage as they investigated the cause of a power loss early on Sunday morning, according to a Metropolitan Transportation Authority spokesman.

McClellen, 21, had apparently been set alight by the mechanical arms known as pantographs that draw power from the 12,500-volt overhead wires, Aaron Donovan, the spokesman, said in a statement.

The crew put out the flames with a fire extinguisher. McClellen was taken to a nearby hospital with burns on 85 percent of his body, and later died from his injuries, the statement said.

The transit authority's police are investigating what McClellen was doing atop the train, which was the first of 31 scheduled services that day.

Thrillseekers sometimes clamber atop trains and "surf" them for the dangerous excitement it provides, but it was not clear if this applied to McClellen, who had moved to New York City from Cleveland, Ohio.

McClellen had recently been hired for parts in a television show and in a movie starring Pierce Brosnan, the New York Post reported, citing McClellen's agent.

His Facebook profile page is filled with upbeat news of his nascent acting career and notes of love for his family. "I will change the world," he wrote in a message to mark the Thanksgiving holiday last year. "It's only a matter of time. I can't wait until I can give my family whatever they want." (Reporting by Jonathan Allen; Editing by Sandra Maler)