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Did Smoke Put More DC Metro Riders in Danger?

Posted By Regan Zambri Long, PLLC || 10-May-2017

It was January in 2015 when the Yellow Line ground to a halt right after a train left L’Enfant Plaza. Smoke was collecting in the tunnel and before the train in the tunnel could reverse and get away, another train pulled into the stop. The train remained trapped in the tunnel for over 45 minutes, suffocating a passenger. Now, a new incident has people asking if new safety initiatives from the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) are working.

Smoke Spotted! Were DC Metro Riders in Danger?

When smoke filled the Yellow Line in 2015, two of the six exhaust fans—meant to ventilate the tunnels—were malfunctioning. This caused a woman to suffocate, and Regan Zambri Long took up her case on behalf of her family. If those fans had been properly maintained, then this tragedy may have been averted, and that’s one of the reasons WMATA started the Safe Track program. However, many people have begun to question if this program is getting the job done.

On April 27th, smoke was spotted along the Red Line between Farragut North and Judiciary Square. The trains were shut down and emergency crews swept through the tunnel to find what had gone wrong. What they found was an old rail fastener that was causing an arc of electricity, which was also what caused the deadly smoke cloud that filled the Yellow Line just past L’Enfant Plaza.

This time, DC Metro was able to prevent anyone from being injured, but questions still remain. The old rail fasteners at the center of the Red Line incident are the same that are due to be replaced by Safe Track. So, why hasn’t this happened yet? Are other fasteners going to arc and cause another smoke related incident? What other safety improvements does WMATA need to make, and how long before it makes them?

The Washingtonian called Patrick Regan the lawyer to come to if you needed to sue WMATA, so you can understand why the Washington DC personal injury attorneys at Regan Zambri Long will continue to monitor these transit safety issues.

Categories: Personal Injury
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