February 23, 2015

Woodley Park, Foggy Bottom, Rosslyn, and L’Enfant Plaza metro stations fill with smoke

WMATA-metro-DC-smoke-lawsuitThe Washington, D.C. metro system saw four more smoke incidents over the weekend of Feb. 20-22.  Unlike the Jan. 12 Metro smoke incident that left one person dead and more than 80 injured, no injuries related to the most-recent smoke incident were reported.  Investigators say the smoke occurred due to a variety mechanical failures at each station.

The first incident took place around noon on Saturday, February 21 at Woodley Park metro station.  Passengers were evacuated from the station after brake failure caused the platform area to fill with fumes.  Friction from the metro car’s brakes are believe to have caused the smoke.

At approximately 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, February 21, firefighters in Arlington responded to reports of fire and smoke on the track inbound to Rosslyn station from Foggy Bottom.  Investigators say the smoke most likely arose from problems with insulation on the electrified third rail.

On Sunday, February 22, the WMATA Metro system experienced an additional pair of smoke incidents.  The first occurred at L’Enfant Plaza at approximately 11 a.m. when a mechanical issue with the Metro train car’s brakes caused smoke to fill the station.  L’Enfant Plaza metro station was the site of the deadly January 2015 D.C. metro smoke incident that sent over 80 individuals to the hospital and tragically took the life of an Alexandria, Virginia, woman.

The latest metro smoke incident took place around 6:30 p.m at Foggy Bottom Metro station on Sunday, February 22.  A passing metro car driver reported seeing smoke coming from the electrified third rail on the track.  Fire crews were called to the scene but there was no fire.  Investigators are saying an electrical arcing event was most likely the culprit. An arcing event was also fingered as the likely cause of the January 2015 L’Efant Plaza smoke event.

In 2015, there have been a total of five smoke related incidents in the Washington, D.C. WMATA Metro train system. The January incident at L’Enfant Plaza saw the first death on the Metro since 2009 when a pair of metro cars collided at the Fort Totten station, taking the lives of nine individuals.

The Cochran Firm, D.C. has extensive experience representing victims of D.C. metro accidents, including individuals injured in the January 2015 L’Efant Plaza smoke incident and the 2009 Fort Totten train crash. In the Fort Totten litigation, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia appointed David Haynes, the managing attorney of The Cochran Firm’s Washington, D.C. office, as co-liaison counsel for all of the plaintiffs. (In the Matter of the Fort Totten Metrorail Cases Arising Out of the Events of June 22, 2009, U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, Case No.: 10-mc-00314).