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The city has released a detailed readout of the calls and dispatches related to Monday’s deadly Metro incident near L’Enfant Plaza. Passengers on board the train that filled with smoke complained that it took around 40 minutes for Fire Department officials to arrive on the scene. The log released this morning by the Office of the City Administrator is the first minute-by-minute account of the city’s perspective on Monday’s events.
According to the timeline, D.C. emergency responders were first alerted to the heavy smoke at L’Enfant Plaza at 3:22 p.m. It took just nine minutes for the first Fire Department rescue unit to arrive at the station. But it’s not clear from the log exactly when the rescuers reached the passengers. There have been reports that rescuers were reluctant to approach the train in the tunnel because they were not certain whether the electrified third rail had been shut off.
The log also indicates that emergency responders were distracted by reports of smoke and fire at two other locations: Gallery Place, where a debris fire on the tracks was reported, and a Metro tunnel at 9th and Water streets SW, where smoke was reported.
A D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services spokesman did not immediately respond to a call for comment.
The readout reports calls from passengers complaining that they were having trouble breathing. At least one passenger was advised by Metro not to leave the train because the tracks were still live.
The full log is below:
3:14 Metro Rail’s Unit 22 called to report a debris fire on the tracks at Gallery Place Station, upper and lower levels
3:19 Engine 02 Unit Dispatched to 7th St NW/H St NW (Gallery Place Metro)
3:18 A caller from a construction site reported smoke coming out of the Metro tunnel at 9th and Water St SW
3:22 Metro Rail’s Unit 22 called to advise of heavy smoke at L’Enfant Plaza Metro upper level
3:22 Engine 02 Arrived at 7th St NW/H St NW (Gallery Place Metro)
3:24 Metro Transit Official called requesting medics and fire units at L’Enfant Plaza Station for smoke in the station and reported citizens in the station could barely breathe
3:25 FEMS units arrived at 9th St SW/Water St SW scene where there was an odor of smoke but no flames were seen
3:27 A caller at the entrance of L’Enfant station requested an ambulance
3:28 Metro box alarm was dispatched to 7th & D St SW; EMA is notified
3:31 Rescue 1 arrives (1st unit) at 7th and D St SW L’Enfant Station; MPD is dispatched
3:32 MPD unit 1D 1011 arrives
3:32 A caller at the entrance of L’Enfant station requested an ambulance
3:33 A caller on the yellow line, in the tunnel stated the train was filled with smoke
3:33 A caller said he was “at or on” the Pentagon train and was transferred to Arlington 911 Center. The OUC call taker remained on the line and updated CAD which reflected this call
3:35 Engine 02 Unit cleared Gallery Place Metro and dispatched to L’Enfant Plaza
3:39 A caller on the train advised that it was filling with smoke.
3:42 A caller from a street location of 7th and E Street SW reported his wife was having difficulty breathing after she exited L’Enfant Station
3:42 Repeat caller from 3:33 – made inquiry “if help is on the way.” The caller provided the train number 3031. He was transferred to the Metro Transit Official who told him not to leave the train because the tracks were still live
3:43 A caller advised he was stuck on the train and it was filling with smoke
3:44 BFC advises that WMATA confirms that power is shut down; there is a train with people trapped
3:45 A male caller asked “if help is on the way because the train is filling with smoke”
3:45 A female caller asking if help is on the way because the train is filling with smoke
3:46 A second alarm dispatched
4:09 Battalion Chief 1 advises he is at Operations Command Center and there is a report of a patient having a seizure on the train; squad 1 advises 9th and D; and an adult female is undergoing CPR, requesting a medic
4:12 Medic 14 advises he is a block away from L’enfant plaza and will respond; Medic 6B responds that he is closer, medic 14 cancels the run
4:17 Medic 6B is given the corrected location on channel 0A12, 9th and D St SW
4:19 Command 2 directs all medical units on L’enfant Plaza to switch to 0A5 (tactical channel due to radio traffic)
4:25 Medic 27 transports patient to GW, CPR is still in progress
Photo by Darrow Montgomery