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One Dead, Dozens Injured in D.C. Metro Smoke Incident

d.c. metro

On Monday, January 12, 2015, commuters on a D.C. Metro Yellow Line train experienced a power failure and the cars filling with smoke.

The incident happened just after 3:30pm as the train pulled out of L’Enfant Plaza metro station. Before the train could travel 800 feet into the tunnel towards Virginia, it suddenly stopped. The power turned off and the cars of the train began to quickly fill with smoke. The passengers on the train were instructed to get low to avoid the smoke that was quickly seeping into the cars.

Many passengers on the metro described gave first-hand accounts of what they saw. They described people panicking, some losing consciousness, some choking on the smoke, and still others began to pray. People began to pass around inhalers and water bottles to their fellow passengers in an attempt to sooth the effects of smoke inhalation.

Witness accounts of the D.C. Metro smoke incident

First responders were called to the scene. However, a rescue mission was not able to take place for approximately 40 minutes. Eugene Jones, the interim chief of the D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services, explained the delay was due to unclarity about whether electricity had been turned off. Once it was safe, the fire fighters and first responders entered the tunnel. From there, they escorted the metro riders to safety and to the waiting ambulances above ground.

According to reports, one woman died and as many as 84 were taken to local D.C. hospitals to be treated for varying degrees of distress due to smoke inhalation and other injuries. One firefighter was reportedly injured as well.

The National Transportation Safety Board reported that the massive amount of smoke was due to an “electrical arcing event.”  The NTSB also stated that there was no fire, only smoke.

Protect your rights if you were involved in the D.C. Metro smoke incident

Ashcraft & Gerel’s thoughts are with the family of the deceased passenger during this difficult time as well as all the passengers affected by this tragic event. As a firm with experience handling cases similar to this one, we know how difficult the experience can be for all involved.

If you or someone you love was injured in the D.C. Metro incident at L’Enfant Plaza, you may be entitled to compensation. Based on our experience handling cases that involve both design and manufacturing defects in vehicles, and those dealing with the stress and physical discomfort associated with smoke inhalation, we know that having the right legal team on your side can make all the difference.

If you have any questions or would like further information, please contact us online or call us at 800-829-7037.