By: Allan M. Siegel
It has been nearly 6 months since the fatal smoke
Metro smoke incident near L’Enfant station resulted in the death of one victim and the
hospitalization of dozens more passengers. In the time that has passed,
federal investigators have been working to determine what caused the calamity
and what steps can be taken to prevent similar tragedies from occurring.
With newly released documents from the National Transportation Safety
Board (NTSB), new light is being shed on exactly what took place.
Earlier this month, the NTSB
criticized Metro for its failures to protect power-cable connections from contaminants,
critical communications breakdowns, and failures to properly respond to
the emergency. Over several days of public hearings, the NTSB also unearthed
first-person accounts from transcripts and interviews with transit workers
involved in the incident that provide a disturbing picture of the consequences
of Metro’s failures.
Some of the interviews released by the NTSB included:
- An interview with the operator of the Metro train caught in the smoke-filled
tunnel. The train operator described a chaotic scene during which he pleaded
with Metro controllers to back of the tunnel. He was told to “stand
by” as passengers were yelling, screaming and kicking doors in a
desperate attempt to escape the smoke-filled train.
- A controller with the Metro Rail Operations Control Center (ROCC) told
NTSB investigators she had attempted to stop another train approaching
L’Enfant, but due to a communication breakdown, the operator did
not hear the message.
- Interviews with transit workers who stated that Metro Transit Police evacuated
a train at the southbound side of the station and attempted to move the
train despite the fact that the operator was no longer on board.
The transcripts and interviews released by the NTSB reveal not only critical
errors committed by Metro officials, but also the toll they had on the
many victims and passengers who suffered physically and emotionally on
the smoke-filled train. NTSB officials have stated that a final report
on the incident will be released in early 2016.
The law firm represents many people who were injured as a result of Metro’s
negligence. We will be closely monitoring the NTSB’s findings. If
you, or anyone you know was injured as a result of the smoke filled train,
please do not hesitate to
call us. Our legal team is available to provide more information about this or
any other Metro accident or
train accident, as we have extensive experience in this field.