One person died and 84 were injured when a Metro train filled with smoke in Washington.
The train had just departed the L’Enfant Plaza station bound for Virginia when it came to a stop around 3:30 p.m. and began filling with smoke, according to the Washington Post.
The National Transportation Safety Board said at a news conference Monday that the cause was an “electrical arcing event,” which refers to when water hits an electrified third rail and sometimes causes smoke.
Official said there was between an inch and an inch and a half of water around the third rail.
Eugene A. Jones, interim chief of D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services, said rescuers were delayed by safety concerns.
“While the power may have been turned off to the track bed where the firefighters would go in to make rescues, they heard trains running on the lower level,” he said. “So in their mind, they wanted to make sure that before they put people on the track bed that the power was actually off.
“Once we worked with Metro to ensure the power to the track bed was off, we made entry and made rescues.”
“We have one fatality, a woman who was in distress on the train, which I’m very sorry to report,” Metro General Manager Richard Sarles told reporters.
Some passengers described the confusing situation in the tunnel to the Post.
“People were panicking,” said Adjoa Adofo, 30, “We didn’t know what to do, and we weren’t getting a lot of information.”
“The power went off. The train stopped. The lights went out. And the smoke appeared,” said Jason Hill, 31. “It built up fast, man, until you couldn’t see anything. Eventually it was like we were basically out of air.”
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