Hill Life Savers — U.S. Capitol Police on June 1 revived a man they discovered wasn’t breathing. The man, who was near the Library of Congress, appeared to have overdosed on heroin. [Roll Call]
Metro Safety — Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton and other D.C.-area members of Congress called on Metro to quickly fix a safety problem concerning power cables for train tracks. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating whether the track-based cable flaw played a role in the electrical meltdown that left one person dead near the L’Enfant Plaza station earlier this year. [Washington Post]
NoMa Buses — The Council of Governments is considering using NoMa to stage commuter buses in the afternoon. [WTOP]
Southwest Ground Breaking — St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church officially has broken ground on its new sanctuary in Southwest. [Hill Rag]
D.C. Won’t Scrap H Street Streetcar Project — The District won’t abandon the H Street/Benning Road streetcar project after an outside group discovered “no fatal flaws” with it, the head of the District’s Department of Transportation said. But D.C. officials still don’t know when streetcar service will begin. “We have the independent third-party assessment that we needed. But there’s a lot of work ahead,” Leif Dormsjo said. [Washington Post]
What Delayed Emergency Response to L’Enfant Plaza Metro Smoke — Emergency calls about the deadly smoke near the L’Enfant Plaza Metro station in January were routed to a 911 call center supervisor, which delayed firefighters’ response. Smoke in the tunnel near the station killed one woman and sickened 80 others. [Associated Press]
Cat Shot in Eye Near H Street Corridor — A cat with a BB gun pellet lodged in its eye was found alive near the H Street corridor. The Washington Humane Society is offering a $5,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest and conviction for animal cruelty. [FOX 5]
Community Meetings This Week — A meeting will be held tonight on a 45-unit mixed residential project planned for the 1300 block of E Street SE, where Jerry’s Custom Automotive Center and a warehouse are located now. The Eastern Market Community Advisory Committee will give an update Wednesday night on construction plans for Hine Junior High School. [Capitol Hill Corner]
A District man is facing felony hoax charges after police say he planted suspicious packages in the L’Enfant Plaza and Gallery Place-Chinatown Metro stations earlier this week.
Marcus Anthony Robertson, 43, was arrested by Metro Transit Police Monday morning on charges he placed a parcel containing a “powdery substance” and a note in both stations, MTPD said last night.
The first of the packages was found about 7:45 a.m. Monday in the L’Enfant Plaza station. The parcel was checked by a K-9 unit and x-rayed by an explosives team and found to be harmless. Ten minutes later, a similar package was found and examined in the Gallery Place station, MTPD said.
Robertson was caught on surveillance cameras, spotted by officers and then arrested about 10:40 a.m. Monday.
“This investigation demonstrates the power of our state-of-the-art camera systems, combined with good police work,” Metro Transit Police Chief Ronald Pavlik said in a statement.
Robertson confessed to having left the packages, according to MTPD. He’s charged with committing a felony hoax related to a biological weapon of mass destruction, and carrying a prohibited “ninja star.”
No information on his lawyer appears in online court records.
Photo via Metro Transit Police
(Updated at 2:45 p.m.) A power outage in the L’Enfant Plaza Metro station had commuters trying to navigate in the dark during rush hour today.
The station entrance at 9th and D streets SW was closed for about five hours because of the outage, but the station remained open. Portable lighting was set up on the lower-level Blue, Orange and Silver line platform.
Riders began sharing photos of the darkened station about 8:45 a.m.
The power is out in half of L'Enfant Plaza. I feel like I'm getting on board Space Mountain, not the DC metro. pic.twitter.com/CM8oHNz6Kj
— David Mariutto (@DavidMariutto) February 20, 2015
No power at L'Enfant Plaza metro station during rush hour. Customers having to use their phone lights to see. Get your act together, @WMATA.
— Mitchell Rivard (@mitchellrivard) February 20, 2015
Partial power outage in L'Enfant Plaza station means my commute is extra #spooky today.
meanwhile at L'Enfant Plaza. even the escalators and arrival board are off.
This is the blue/orange line platform at L'Enfant Plaza right now. Lights = off. #wmata pic.twitter.com/KaJNy1RbFQ
— Richard Sant (@richardsantjr) February 20, 2015
A very dark morning at L'Enfant Plaza #unsuckdcmetro pic.twitter.com/KlBqVgDCly
— Ryan Costello (@rycostello) February 20, 2015
Lights out at L'Enfant Plaza @unsuckdcmetro @PoPville pic.twitter.com/gPHqoclyZy
— Kim Conrad (@kimberlymconrad) February 20, 2015
L'Enfant Plaza has the worst luck #lenfantplaza #commutingsucks http://t.co/e6yj3VRhl9
— Andrew Steffan (@AndrewSteffan) February 20, 2015
Power was restored and the station entrance at 9th and D streets SW was reopened by 1:45 p.m., Metro said in an update. Information on the cause of the outage was not immediately available.
More Fashion and Food on H Street NE Soon — The “market place environment” Maketto is expected to open at 1351 H St. NE by the end of March. The “Asian street market” will have food from Toki Underground, clothing by designer Will Sharp and drinks from Vigilante Coffee Company. [Urban Turf]
Results of Neighborhood Group Poll — We got an earful on Facebook about news we shared about the new group Childfree Living on the Hill (CLOTH). So, we took a poll on Wednesday, asking, “Which neighborhood group does the Hill need (or not)?” As of this morning, the majority of voters said “Any and all. The more, the merrier.”
L’Enfant Plaza Metro Accident Investigation — Senior emergency responders say Metro knew for years that a radio alarm system didn’t work in tunnels, but never informed fire officials. [Washington Post]
See the National Mall in Real Time — The National Mall can be watched around the clock through streaming EarthCam video available online. [WTOP]
New Account of Metro Smoke Incident — A federal employee says he saw three Metro Transit Police officers investigate smoke in the L’Enfant Plaza station tunnel on Jan. 12 before the arrival of the train that trapped passengers, killing one woman. “When the smoke was known to exist, was it communicated to someone?” the witness asked. [Washington Times]
Whole Food Construction Update — Construction is advancing at the site of the future Whole Foods Market at 800 New Jersey Ave. SE, between the Capitol South and Navy Yard Metro stations. [JDLand]
Cafe Cafe Update — There is now a members’ club for the cafe with cats that will open in the District. The entrepreneur opening the spot where pet-lovers can drink coffee and pet cats previously said its location may be on H Street NE. [Eater]
More Performances of August Wilson Play — Arena Stage has added additional performances of the play “King Hedley II,” the ninth installment of August Wilson’s 10-part series on 20th century African-American life. [Southwest … The Little Quadrant That Could]
Relatives of the woman who died after being trapped on the smoky Metro train near L’Enfant Plaza have sued WMATA for $50 million.
The lawsuit filed today charges that Carol Glover, 61, died after the Jan. 12 accident because of negligence by Metro, documents published by WAMU show.
Metro failed to inspect and maintain equipment, properly train employees and follow emergency response protocols, the suit says.
Glover’s death robs her family of income, guidance and parental care, the suit states.
“As a further direct and proximate result of Defendant WMATA’s negligence, Ms. Glover’s estate lost the probable future earnings and other economic and non-economic damages recoverable under the applicable District of Columbia law.”
Lawyer Pat Regan argued that Metro should have been able to prevent the Alexandria resident’s death, he told NBC Washington.
“This was a situation where they should have been able to get people out of that train long before Carol Glover suffered an injury, never mind passed away,” Regan said.
Glover, a grandmother who attended Capitol Hill Baptist Church (525 A St. NE) died of acute respiratory failure due to smoke exposure, medical examiners determined. Dozens of other commuters were hospitalized.
Photo via GoFundMe
A preliminary report on the deadly Metro accident Monday shows that Metro didn’t cut power to the affected line until 35 minutes after the train hit heavy smoke.
The electrical malfunction began at 3:06 p.m., when an electrical breaker tripped, according to the preliminary report released Friday afternoon by the National Transportation Safety Board. The Yellow Line train stopped at 3:15 p.m. when it hit smoke. WMATA activated fans to clear the smoke at 3:16 p.m., the report says.
Despite the smoke, a second train followed the first train and was stopped by smoke about 3:25 p.m., just 100 feet from the station platform.
WMATA finally cut power at 3:50 p.m. City officials have previously said the emergency response was delayed because firefighters didn’t know if power to the electrified third rail had been cut.
The NTSB continues to review records and interview passengers and Metro staff.
The incident killed one woman and hospitalized more than 80 passengers.
Photos via NTSB
(Updated at 10:25 a.m.) A preliminary report on emergency calls and dispatch times for the Metro incident that killed a woman on Monday suggests confusion and delays.
The city released this morning the first minute-by-minute account of the information Metro and D.C. Fire and EMS had while commuters were trapped. Heavy smoke in the L’Enfant Plaza Metro station was first reported at 3:22 p.m., the call log distributed by the Office of the City Administrator shows. Firefighters arrived nine minutes later, at 3:31 p.m.
The call log does not list when firefighters reached people trapped on the smoke-filled train, but it shows that a passenger asked in an emergency call at 3:45 p.m. if help was on the way. That’s 23 minutes after the initial call about smoke.
The Washington Post reported before the document was released that passengers waited at least 35 minutes in the dark tunnel before firefighters began to rescue them. Firefighters waited 13 minutes to move into the tunnel because they needed to know from Metro that power to the electrified third rail had been cut.
Alexandria resident Carol Glover died after being trapped in the smoke, and 83 other passengers were hospitalized.
Here’s the full call log:
3:14 Metro Rail’s Unit 22 called to report a debris fire on the tracks at Gallery Place
Station, upper and lower levels
3:19 Engine 02 Unit Dispatched to 7th St NW/H St NW (Gallery Place Metro)
3:18 A caller from a construction site reported smoke coming out of the Metro tunnel at 9th and Water St SW
3:22 Metro Rail’s Unit 22 called to advise of heavy smoke at L’Enfant Plaza Metro upper level
3:22 Engine 02 Arrived at 7th St NW/H St NW (Gallery Place Metro)
3:24 Metro Transit Official called requesting medics and fire units at L’Enfant Plaza Station for smoke in the station and reported citizens in the station could barely breathe
3:25 FEMS units arrived at 9th St SW/Water St SW scene where there was an odor of smoke but no flames were seen
3:27 A caller at the entrance of L’Enfant station requested an ambulance
3:28 Metro box alarm was dispatched to 7th & D St SW; EMA is notified
3:31 Rescue 1 arrives (1st unit) at 7th and D St SW L’Enfant Station; MPD is dispatched:32 MPD unit 1D 1011 arrives
3:32 A caller at the entrance of L’Enfant station requested an ambulance
3:33 A caller on the yellow line, in the tunnel stated the train was filled with smoke
3:33 A caller said he was “at or on” the Pentagon train and was transferred to Arlington
911 Center. The OUC call taker remained on the line and updated CAD which reflected this call
3:35 Engine 02 Unit cleared Gallery Place Metro and dispatched to L’Enfant Plaza
3:39 A caller on the train advised that it was filling with smoke.
3:42 A caller from a street location of 7th and E Street SW reported his wife was having difficulty breathing after she exited L’Enfant Station
3:42 Repeat caller from 3:33 – made inquiry “if help is on the way” the caller provided the train number 3031. He was transferred to the Metro Transit Official who told him not to leave the train because the tracks were still live
3:43 A caller advised he was stuck on the train and it was filling with smoke
3:44 BFC advises that WMATA confirms that power is shut down; there is a train with people trapped
3:45 A male caller asked “if help is on the way because the train is filling with smoke”
3:45 A female caller asking if help is on the way because the train is filling with smoke
3:46 A second alarm dispatched
4:09 Battalion Chief 1 advises he is at Operations Command Center and there is a report of a patient having a seizure on the train; squad 1 advises 9th and D; and an adult female is undergoing CPR, requesting a medic
4:12 Medic 14 advises he is a block away from L’enfant plaza and will respond; Medic 6B responds that he is closer, medic 14 cancels the run
4:17 Medic 6B is given the corrected location on channel 0A12, 9th and D St SW
4:19 Command 2 directs all medical units on L’enfant Plaza to switch to 0A5 (tactical channel due to radio traffic)
4:25 Medic 27 transports patient to GW, CPR is still in progress
Area lawyers predict that Metro will be sued for millions of dollars after the tragedy, WJLA 7 reported. The lawyer who represented families after the 2009 Red Line crash will announce the first lawsuit at 11:30 a.m. today, according to WAMU.
(Updated at 5 p.m.) The person who died yesterday after being trapped in a smoky Metro train was identified this afternoon as officials issued apologies and addressed next steps.
Carol Glover died after being stuck on a Yellow Line train Monday afternoon, the Office of the D.C. Medical Examiner confirmed. Glover, 61, was an Alexandria resident, WMATA said. She worked for the federal government as a contract employee, WUSA 9 and NBC 4 reported. Her cause of death was not released.
As of 3:30 p.m., 21 people remained hospitalized after being trapped on the smoky train, WMATA said in an update. A total of 84 people were transported yesterday to Washington Hospital Center, George Washington University Hospital and Howard University Hospital.
WMATA deferred all questions about the investigation to the NTSB, whose initial findings faulted an electrical malfunction for the deadly smoke.
Earlier today, Metro board chair Tom Downs issued an apology to her family:
“On behalf of the Board of Directors and all Metro employees, I offer my deepest condolences to the family of the passenger who died yesterday following the incident on the Yellow Line. To those who were injured or frightened, and to the thousands who have been inconvenienced by this major service disruption, I offer a heartfelt apology. Please also know that Metro is working to restore full service as soon as possible.
“Metro is actively cooperating with the National Transportation Safety Board investigation that is now underway. This will be a thorough process that often takes time, and we understand that passengers want answers quickly. Please know that once the cause of this incident is understood, we are prepared to take the actions needed to prevent this from happening again. The safety of each and every Metro rider and employee remains our absolute highest priority.”
Ward 6 Councilman Charles Allen issued a statement about response time to the disaster.
“Initial reports in the media suggest a break-down in the communication with WMATA to let responders know the full extent of the crisis and whether safe passage could be guaranteed along the tracks,” he said.
“I expect to learn more and will work with our WMATA members and other city leaders to address the underlying causes of the events and any breakdowns in coordination with first responders.”
The death was the first fatality on Washington’s Metro system since the June 2009 crash that killed eight passengers and a train operator.
What the National Transportation Safety Board called an “electrical arcing event” caused the smoke that filled a Metro train yesterday, a preliminary investigation found.
NTSB chief investigator Michael Flanigon said late Monday night that an electrical malfunction involving the third rail and power supply cables to that rail caused the smoke. Water along the tracks might have contributed to the problem.
The south-bound Yellow Line train stopped about 3:20 p.m. yesterday about 800 feet past the L’Enfant Plaza station.
“We don’t know exactly why it stopped,” Flanigon said last night, saying there was smoke but no fire.
One woman was killed and more than 80 passengers were transported to area hospitals with respiratory problems and other health issues. The incident disrupted Metro service on five of the system’s six lines for more than five hours, and forced service changes today.
Firefighters did not immediately enter the tunnel to help riders because they did not know whether the third rail had been deactivated, interim D.C. Fire and EMS chief Eugene Jones told The Washington Post.
He said the delay was “nothing like” the hour-long wait that trapped passengers described.
“Once we worked with Metro to ensure the power to the track bed was off, we made entry and made rescues,” Jones told the Post.
In the meantime, passengers choked, prayed and passed out.
The NTSB will continue to examine equipment and interview people who were trapped to determine the cause of the malfunction, officials said.
Photo via Twitter/NTSB
(Updated at 7:45 a.m. Tuesday) Metro trains will operate this morning with modified routes and schedules after smoke in the L’Enfant Plaza station killed one person and injured dozens of others.
Yellow Line service is being replaced by additional Blue Line trains, WMATA said early Tuesday morning. A limited number of shuttle buses are running between Pentagon and L’Enfant Plaza, running every 20 minutes.
Here’s how WMATA said you can get to work using Metro:
As of 5 a.m., normal Green Line service has been restored in both directions.
During the Tuesday morning commute, trains will operate as follows:
• Yellow Line: Service is replaced by additional Blue Line trains running between Huntington & Largo every 12 minutes
• Green Line: Regular service, every 6 minutes, between Branch Ave & Greenbelt
• Orange Line: Trains every 8 minutes between Vienna & New Carrollton
• Silver Line: Trains every 12 minutes between Wiehe-Reston East & Largo, with 8-car trains to provide additional capacity
• Blue Line: Trains every 12 minutes at Franconia-Springfield and Van Dorn Street, every 6 minutes at all other stations
All Metrorail stations are open.
A limited shuttle bus option is available between Pentagon and L’Enfant Plaza, running every 20 minutes. Board shuttle buses from Pentagon on the lower level of the Pentagon bus bays; from L’Enfant Plaza at 7th & Maryland Avenue SW.
Regular Metrobus and Circulator bus service may provide a good alternate travel option for some riders. To check, use the Trip Planner at wmata.com and select the “bus only” option.
(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.
That was easily the worst metro ride of my life pic.twitter.com/a5EnGeRzMQ
— Jonathan Rogers (@JRogers202) January 12, 2015
— Jonathan Rogers (@JRogers202) January 12, 2015
Metro fire at L'Enfant station in DC #DCMetro pic.twitter.com/kBOTn5Rim2
— Patti (@PattiNH) January 12, 2015
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.
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
(Updated at 8:55 a.m.) An early morning water main break today (Tuesday) forced WMATA to completely suspend Metro service between L’Enfant Plaza and Farragut West. Service “is being restored” on the Blue, Orange and Silver Lines, WMATA said in an update sent at 8:48 a.m. Commuters can expect residual delays in both directions.
WMATA previously advised riders to seek alternate travel between the affected stations.
“Major delays, crowding, bus shuttles due to water main break at 12th & F Metro Ctr.,” the WMATA website said.
Shuttle buses are running between L’Enfant Plaza and Farragut West.
Metro first advised riders of the water main break at 12th and F streets NW at 5:54 a.m.
Water flooded the Metro Center stop and surged “above the height of the rail,” Metro spokesman Dan Stessel told The Washington Post. Pumping stations inside the station were “on full power” to remove the water earlier this morning.
What caused the water main break was not announced.
Three murals will be completed in L’Enfant Plaza this week, following the $46 million makeover the complex received earlier this year.
Three international artists are painting murals in and around L’Enfant Plaza. This art is part of a larger project of 20 murals by Chevy Chase-based JBG Companies, which owns the complex in Southwest.
Munich-based artist Rafael Gerlach (also known as SatOne) is painting an abstract orange, red, white and blue mural on a loading dock wall. He hopes to create contrasts between his mural and the “grays, beiges and blues of concrete,” his artist’s statement says.
James Reka, an Australian artist who lives in Berlin, is painting a wall along the the L’Enfant Plaza Metro Terrace next to Starbucks. Reka is known for painting surrealist, abstract creatures. And Polish artist Nawer is painting an interior wall in the L’Enfant Plaza dining area.
JBG Companies is funding the murals as part of a “place-making initiative” to foster the identity of neighborhoods. The project is curated by the National Harbor art gallery Art Whino.
The murals will be up for the “long term,” a JBG Companies representative said.
Photos courtesy of JBG Companies