Press Releases

Beyer Reacts to NTSB Findings On January 2015 L’Enfant Smoke Incident

f t # e
Washington, May 3, 2016 | comments

Rep. Don Beyer issued the following statement today after investigators presented their findings on the 2015 smoke incident at L’Enfant Plaza Metro Station to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) board. The investigator’s findings were critical of the coordinated emergency response. They also highlighted persistent safety deficiencies at the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) during the last three decades.

 “NTSB investigators outlined a perfect storm of failure, coupled with systemic deficiencies throughout the first response network,” said Rep. Don Beyer. “I strongly encourage Metro leadership to make whatever personnel changes are necessary to prioritize rider safety. We cannot  jeopardize passenger lives."

 The NTSB investigators cited cascading safety failures within Metro leading to the incident, including damaged equipment, improper operation of ventilation fans, and an order from the Rail Operations Control Center to send a passenger train into the affected area. 

They also focused on a number of mistakes in the emergency response, including improper training, delayed reaction to the emergency call, and other breakdowns in communication.

“The emergency response to the L’Enfant smoke incident was simply inadequate,” Beyer added. “There is plenty of blame to go around and every agency must swiftly implement the NTSB’s safety recommendations to avert future incidents. We owe it to the people of the National Capital Region, and the family of Carol Glover, to do whatever it takes to create a new, high standard of safety in Metrorail.”

 NTSB also found that the management and oversight of Metro safety remains insufficient under the Federal Transit Administration, and suggested that the Federal Railroad Administration assume future oversight of WMATA safety.

f t # e