Metro Smoke Incident: Did Subway Ventilation Systems Work?

By Peter DePaolis

Updating a blog post we brought you recently, a report provided to Congress showed that the ventilation fans in the smoke incident near L’Enfant Plaza on January 12 were not working properly at the time of the event, actually pulling smoke into train cars.

According to CBS News, officials investigating the incident, including administrators with Metro and the National Transportation Safety Board, said there were ventilation system problems while briefing Congress members from Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia recently.

Rep. Don Beyer, a Virginia Democrat was very upset following the briefing. One woman died and more than 80 others were hospitalized with smoke inhalation after an electrical malfunction stopped the train.

“The death of Carol Glover was an unnecessary tragedy. So many things went wrong. Radios didn’t work. Ventilation fans didn’t get smoke out,” Beyer said, according to CBS News. “The ventilation on the trains themselves sucked smoke into the trains.”

An NTSB official said the agency is investigating the alleged complications with the ventilation system. CBS News noted that an investigation into the incident could take months. It is also not yet clear what caused the electrical problem.

Pursuing a Lawsuit Following a Transportation Accident

As we reported last week, the family of Glover, the Alexandria woman who died in the incident, has filed a $10 million lawsuit against Metro. Additionally, more injury lawsuits are expected.

Remember, it took more than 35 minutes for emergency officials to reach victims in this incident. That is not acceptable. It appears as though many people were injured because of woeful safety procedures in place by Metro, among other agencies.

We will continue to follow this story as more news comes out. If you are ever involved in a public transportation accident, as this case shows, it may be a good idea to seek legal counsel.

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

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


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.