One person is dead and many are injured after a D.C. Metro area filled with a large amount of smoke. Shortly before 3:30 p.m. on Monday reports came in that the L’Enfant Plaza Metro had filled with smoke and was being evacuated. The evacuation included over 200 people who were in that part of the station and the businesses that also have offices outside of the station, including a U.S. Postal Service. Though news came slowly, as officials stated that they were constantly working to get a correct tally of the victims, reports are now fully in. According to officials one woman died and 84 were sent to hospitals nearby.
On Monday afternoon the entire L’Enfant Plaza Metro of the D.C. Metro station was evacuated, as trains were suspended. Trains on the Yellow and Green lines were stopped and cancelled for the day. Everyone was evacuated as a result of smoke filling the station and trains. Trains from the Orange, Silver and Blue lines were temporarily kept out of the area but were later allowed to pass through without stopping.
D.C. Emergency responders and authorities rushed to the scene to contain the situation and tend to any injuries. A trauma center was set up outside of the D.C. Metro, as emergency vehicles began rushing people to hospitals nearby. Two people were in critical condition and as many as 84 people were taken to seek medical treatment. Many pictures of E.M.T.’s carrying out people from the D.C. Metro, on gurneys, were captured as officials worked to calm the chaos.
Statements made by victims of the evacuation showed that the evacuation from D.C. Metro was a difficult one. One woman said that the whole process was unorganized, as she was not given any kind of instructions for evacuation or given the reason for the evacuation. It was obvious to people, in the smoke that evacuation was necessary, however panic spread as people did not know which direction the fire may have been or even where to go, as visibility was low. The low visibility in the L’Enfant Plaza Metro of D.C. Metro was probably the cause for so many injuries, as people worked to get out quickly. One college student on the train said that smoke began filling the station and someone just started screaming for everyone to get out.
Firefighters went to the scene but were unable to find the alleged fire. Ventilation was turned on to clear the smoke out but no source was found. Investigators are still working to determine what caused the smoke that filled D.C. Metro. The station was closed throughout Monday and is expected to continue to be closed for the day. Though other parts of the lines are up and running, trains from the Yellow and Green lines are still suspended.
Passengers have been advised to seek other methods of transportation. According to sources some shuttle buses are being made available to certain locations. At the current time, authorities are not stating whether or not these trains will be available on Tuesday.
The woman left dead has not yet been identified. There has also not been any update on the two passengers in critical condition. However, sources have confirmed that the situation has been contained, as smoke has been cleared and everyone is believed to have been evacuated. The police will continue to investigate the incident, especially now that there was a fatality.
By Crystal Boulware