A spokesperson from the D.C. Fire and EMS said the Metro standpipes that fire fighters hook into during emergencies are too small. The result is that they do not carry enough water pressure, which could be a problem if a major fire started in a Metro tunnel. Fire crews carry a secondary water supply for back-up, and they will begin flow tests on the pipes for an accurate pressure read.
The pipes would not be able to carry enough water into the confined tunnel space to fight a major fire. It reduces, but does not eliminate, the ability to fight a tunnel fire. As is, the affected Metro pipes do not meet the water pressure requirements of the National Fire Protection Association. Apparently, a designer erred in calculating the water pressure used by local fire trucks.
The majority of the low-pressure pipes are on the Red, Green and Orange lines. There are also some in Montgomery County. Despite the low-pressure pipes, a Metro spokesperson said that riders are safe and cites the sprinklers and fire alarms as additional safety equipment. In a statement, the spokesperson assured riders that the tunnel standpipes deliver adequate water, and that workers are already replacing the pipes. It will take three years to replace the affected water pipes.
Metro estimates that it will cost over $6 million to replace the pipes.
Injuries from a fire and Metro accidents can cause long-term damage to their victims. Contact a Washington, D.C. personal injury lawyer if you or a loved one suffers injuries on the Metro or in a fire. You may have a valid personal injury lawsuit. Paulette Chapman is an experienced Washington, D.C. personal injury attorney at Koonz, McKenney, Johnson & DePaolis and she is prepared to help you.