How Can I Safely Exit a Metro Train in a Tunnel?

By Peter DePaolis

Sadly, on January 12, 84 people were hospitalized and one person was killed due to the Metro train tunnel filling with smoke—many of those injured were riding aboard a Virginia-bound Yellow Line train near the L’Enfant Plaza station.

As of last week, the National Transportation Safety Board was still trying to determine what caused the incident, saying it was an “electrical arcing event” that occurred approximately 1,100 feet in front of the train.

Passengers who were affected told the Washington Post that they were stuck for as long as an hour before firefighters led them out of cars. Some passengers reportedly choked on smoke until they lost consciousness.

In addition to the victims who were taken to hospitals, more than 200 people had to be evaluated at the scene of the incident for injuries, including one firefighter.

What Should I Do If I Have to Evacuate from a Metro Train Tunnel?

Following the incident, the Post released some safety steps for people commuting via the rail. First, the newspaper says you should look for the emergency call boxes located at the end of each rail car if you need to reach the train operator.

Additionally, if you are on a train that is involved in an emergency evacuation, you can:

  • Look around using lights located on the side of the tunnel
  • Pull the emergency doors to safely exit a car
  • Make sure you exit to the side with the lights
  • Step carefully to the walkway
  • Wait for an operator to tell you which direction to walk

Keep in mind, as the Post reported, there are emergency stations every 800 feet in the tunnels, which are marked by a blue light that contain call boxes. When you utilize one of these, they have instructions about dialing procedures.

Additionally, and this is very important, you should stay as far away from the tracks as possible, as contact with the third rail that carries electricity, which has a white safety cover, could kill you.

Contact Our Attorneys If You Have Been Injured in a Metro Train Accident

People should not have to suffer due to the negligence of the Metro operators. If you have suffered an injury due to an accident or incident while riding a Metro rail train, speak to our attorneys. You could be entitled to compensation.

Our attorneys assist injury victims in Fairfax County, Prince William County, Loudoun County and Arlington County.

Koonz, McKenney, Johnson & DePaolis L.L.P.

Maryland, Washington, D.C. and Virginia Injury Attorneys

Did You Know? According to USA Today, between 2002 and 2011, there were 2,528 total fatalities on U.S. public transit systems.

Sponsored by: Attorney William P. Lightfoot


About the Author
Peter DePaolis joined the firm in 1980 and has since represented a large number of individuals involved in automobile collisions, truck accidents, bus crashes, defective products, and medical malpractice cases. A significant portion of Mr. DePaolis’ practice is devoted to working on behalf of people suffering from asbestosis, mesothelioma, and other asbestos-related cancers. He has led his firm’s fight against the asbestos industry and has recovered over $30 million in damages for asbestos victims and their families.