Here’s the D.C. Streetcar on fire pic.twitter.com/3JcGchyrzH
— Will Sommer (@willsommer) February 22, 2015
As if the streetcar needed more problems, here’s another one to add to the collection: Last night it caught on fire.
The inaugural H Street-Benning Road NE line of the streetcar has been long delayed, so much so that city officials have ceased giving a target date for operations to begin. In the meantime, test runs along the line have continued. Around 11:45 last night, a flash fire occurred atop a streetcar vehicle on H Street NE.
The streetcar team is still investigating the cause of the incident, but here’s the official statement from the District Department of Transportation:
At approximately 11:45 p.m. Saturday during simulated service, a brief flash fire was ignited on top of the streetcar vehicle. The sparks extinguished very quickly on their own and fire suppression was not required by the first responders on the scene. The vehicle operator was safe due to the vehicle’s insulation from electrical current.
After the flash fire sparked, DC Streetcar’s emergency procedures were put in place. The vehicle went into fail-safe mode and stopped moving. Power to the system was cut and the vehicle was towed back to the yard. In order to test the power system, another vehicle was immediately put into operation and ran without issue. Simulated service is also running this morning without incident.
The exact cause of this incident is being investigated by the DC Streetcar team and the vehicle manufacturer. Initial observations suggest that this was an isolated incident. State Safety Oversight (SSO) was immediately alerted last night and continues to be updated as the investigation proceeds. The DC Streetcar team is embarking upon a full inspection of the entire system. This incident will be part of DDOT’s top to bottom review of the system that is underway.