Woman Dead After Smoke Fills L’Enfant Plaza Metro Tunnel; Some Metro Service Restored

by Andrea Swalec January 12, 2015 at 3:35 pm 1,599 0

Smoke in L'Enfant Plaza station (Twitter/LesleyJLopez)

(Updated at 8:25 p.m.) One Metro passenger is dead and five people were injured after smoke filled a Metro tunnel near the L’Enfant Plaza station today before rush hour.

A female passenger died, Metro General Manager Richard Sarles told multiple news outlets Monday evening. One firefighter received serious but non-life-threatening injuries, D.C. Fire and EMS said. A total of 84 people were transported to area hospitals, and more than 200 people were evaluated.

After smoke filled the station, the L’Enfant Plaza stop was evacuated about 3:20 p.m. Monday and then shut down, Metro Transit Police said. The incident disrupted Metro service on five of the system’s six lines for more than five hours.

L’Enfant Plaza has reopened for service on the Blue, Orange and Silver lines, Metro said in an update about 8:10 p.m. Green and Yellow line service will remain suspended for the rest of today between Gallery Place and the Navy Yard and Pentagon stations.

Riders panicked, prayed and banged on the train doors as they waited on the smoky train for about an hour, passengers told The Washington Post. Dramatic photos posted online show a dark train car, and passengers huddled on the ground and walking through a tunnel.

Mayor Muriel Bowser said she will “continue to keep the District’s resources available in the aftermath of the incident.”

“We are all saddened by today’s fatality aboard the Metrorail, and our thoughts and prayers go out to the family of the passenger who passed way,” she said in a statement.

“The source of the smoke has not been identified,” WMATA spokesman Dan Stessel said on NBC. Firefighters found smoke but no fire, a fire department spokesman said earlier this afternoon.

The National Transportation Safety Board has taken over the investigation, Metro Transit Police announced about 7:20 p.m.

L'enfant metro station is closed due to smoke #wmata #metro #dcwithdianne

A photo posted by Dianne Wallace (@dcwithdianne) on

WMATA gave this update on travel options:

Green Line shuttle bus boarding locations:

Navy Yard – NJ Ave & M St SE
Waterfront – M St & 4th SW
L’Enfant Plaza – C St & 7th St SW
Archives – Pennsylvania Ave & 7th Street NW
Gallery Place – H St & 7th St NW
Mt Vernon Sq – M St & 7th St NW

Yellow Line riders travelling between Virginia and DC should use the Blue Line as an alternate.

Non-Metro Alternatives:

DC Circulator – From M St/Navy Yard: 2 different routes available to either Eastern Market (OR/SV/BL Metrorail) or Union Station (Metrorail Red Line). SmarTrip accepted.
VRE – Fredericksburg Line from Union Station or L’Enfant Plaza to Crystal City, King Street-Alexandria and Franconia-Springfield.

There was a small debris fire on the tracks of the station less than a week ago, as Hill Now reported. That fire at about 10:30 a.m. Wednesday was extinguished quickly, WMATA said.

Photo courtesy of Lesley J. Lopez


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