READY TO ROLL

READY TO ROLL

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

L'ENFANT PLAZA

UPDATED JAN. 20, 2015





WASHINGTON, D.C.

It happened almost 33 years to the date of the twin disasters of Jan. 13, 1982 - the Air Florida crash at the 14th Street Bridge and Metrorail accident at Smithsonian station.

On Jan. 12, 2015, smoke from an arcing third rail filled a Metrorail tunnel at L'Enfant Plaza, killing a woman and sickening more than 80 others trapped aboard a stalled, rush-hour Yellow Line train bound for Virginia.

Passengers expressed anger at the pace of the rescue.

The reason:

The electrified third rail remained live until 3:50 p.m., 35 minutes after the train stalled in the tunnel, according to a preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board,
delaying firefighters from reaching the train.

Rescuers were also hindered by radio communications problems.

Timeline from Mayor's Office

3:18 p.m. — 911 call from construction worker near Ninth and Water streets SW, for smoke from ventilation shaft near where Metrorail Yellow Line tracks emerge above ground.
3:22 p.m. — WMATA call to District's 911 advising of smoke in L'Enfant Plaza station.
3:24 p.m. — WMATA calls back, elevating call, saying heavy smoke in station, passengers affected.
3:25 p.m. — Firetrucks arrive at Ninth and Water streets.
3:28 p.m. — D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services declares "Metro tunnel box alarm," begins rolling "about 10" pieces of equipment to L'Enfant Plaza.
3:31 p.m.— Firetrucks arrive at L'Enfant Plaza.
3:32 p.m. — Metropolitan Police Department arrives on scene.
3:32 p.m. — Another caller outside L'Enfant Plaza calls requesting ambulance.
3:33 p.m. — First word of train in tunnel: 911 call from "caller on train" who says he is on Yellow Line train in tunnel that is filling with smoke.
3:39 p.m. — Another 911 call from train, caller says on train with smoke.
3:42 p.m. — Another 911 call from outside station, from person having trouble breathing.
3:42 p.m. — Repeat 911 call from an earlier caller from train. Caller asks if help is on the way. Train stuck and filling with smoke, caller says.
3:43 p.m. — Another 911 call from train.
3:44 p.m. — Metro advises train stuck on track with passengers.
3:44 p.m. — District battalion chief advises Metro has shut off power to track with stranded train.
3:45 p.m. — Two more 911 calls from train, one from a man, another from a woman, asking if help is on the way.
3:46 p.m. — D.C. Fire and EMS calls second alarm, dispatches more trucks.
4:09 p.m. — Battalion chief advises that one passenger is having a seizure and CPR is being conducted on an adult female.
4:12 p.m. — A District paramedic outside the station advises she is en route to the train.
4:25 p.m. — D.C. Fire and EMS advises it is enroute to George Washington University Hospital with a patient, CPR still in progress.