Smoke Filled Metrorail Results in 1 Death & 84 Smoke Injuries to Washington D.C. Commuters

The law firms of Patrick Malone & Associates and Aaron Levine & Associates, which have a combined seventy years of experience between them, are teaming together to represent injured Metro commuters who were hurt in the Metrorail incident in Washington, D.C.

One woman died and 84 people were taken to local hospitals when smoke filled the L’Enfant Plaza Metro Station on Monday, January 12, 2015. While the majority of the hospitalized people were treated and released quickly, one woman was pronounced dead and two others had critical injuries after the harrowing incident. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is still investigating the event.

The incident occurred on January 12 at 3:30 p.m. at the L’Enfant Plaza Metro Station, one of the busiest stations in the Washington D.C. area. The Virginia-bound Yellow Line train had just departed from the L’Enfant Plaza station when the train suddenly came to a halt and began to fill with smoke. Pictures taken in the train showed passengers huddled together trying desperately to breathe. While passengers anxiously awaited rescue, many began choking on the smoke and some even lost consciousness. According to passenger accounts, as much as an hour went by before firefighters were able to rescue them from the smoke-filled cars.

NTSB officials have stated that an “electrical arcing event” occurred in front of the train. This occurs when water hits an electrified third rail, often generating smoke. It does not appear that there was any fire. Firefighters had to wait until the power to the third rail was shut off before they were able to begin rescuing passengers. As a result, passengers were forced to wait in the smoke filled cars, slowly choking on the toxic fumes.

“It was a lot of smoke. We couldn’t see each other. We felt like we were almost going to die.” –Passenger Saleh Damiger

The Metrorail connects downtown Washington D.C. with Maryland and Virginia suburbs and it carries nearly 721,000 passengers each and every day. It opened in 1976 and still uses some of its original cars – which now are nearly 40 years old. Unfortunately, smoke and fires are not unusual on subway systems that are this old. In 2013 alone, there were 86 separate incidents of fire or smoke on the Metrorail system.

The Dangers of Smoke Inhalation

Smoke inhalation can cause very serious injury. All smoke contains carbon monoxide, which is lethal in large amounts. In addition, smoke contains numerous chemicals and acid gases, which can cause significant injury to the lung tissue.

Inhaling smoke for a short amount of time can cause immediate acute effects, such as eye and throat irritation and respiratory distress. The more carbon monoxide is breathed in, the less the body is able to oxygenate the blood, causing headaches and drowsiness. It can even aggravate existing heart conditions. Prolonged exposure to smoke can—and will—result in death. An estimated 50% – 80% of all fire deaths are actually the result of smoke inhalation injuries.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder after a Traumatic Event
Traumatic events, like being trapped in a smoke filled train car, can have a long-lasting effect on the human psyche. Victims, who have survived a traumatic event, often report that post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other psychological conditions continue, long after their physical injuries have healed. Train accident victims need to watch closely for signs of PTSD, depression, anxiety, or worsening psychological condition.

Contact Washington DC Metrorail Accident Lawyers Immediately
If you or someone you love was a victim in a Metrorail accident, it is important to discuss your case with an experienced Washington DC Metrorail accident lawyer immediately. Physical and psychological injuries caused by a Metrorail accident can be severe and require a law firm with the knowledge, experience, and resources needed to tackle these complex cases.

Contact the Washington DC Metrorail Accident Lawyers at Patrick Malone & Associates today for a free consultation and review of your case. We will work together with our Of Counsel Aaron Levine of Aaron M. Levine & Associates to ensure that you and your loved ones receive the compensation you deserve after a horrific Metrorail accident. Metrorail victims who have experienced smoke inhalation, respiratory distress, the worsening of a cardiac condition, or PTSD after the L’Enfant Metro incident should contact our law firm immediately. We can protect your rights and safeguard your future–so you can focus on your recovery.

Call us at 1-202-742-1500 or 1-888-625-6645 or fill out our confidential contact form for a FREE Consultation and review of your case.

The train accident attorneys at Patrick Malone & Associates have successfully represented injured individuals in Washington, D.C., Arlington, Alexandria, Annapolis, Rockville, Baltimore, Richmond, Fairfax, Montgomery County, Prince George’s County, and other locations throughout Maryland and Virginia.