Metro's Chief Safety Officer is leading the investigation into a deadly overnight accident inside a section of the Red Line tunnel.
Crews who had been welding sections of track together describe a sudden loud noise, then fire. It's not clear yet whether a fluid leak, or a mechanical issue is to blame, but investigators say it caused a 40 foot section of rail to move, striking a Metro track worker, a supervisor and a contract worker.
All three were taken to the hospital just after midnight with serious injuries. The contractor was later pronounced dead. 41 year old Harold Ingram of Richmond, VA was an employee of Holland Company.
In a statement, WMATA said in part, "Following the incident, all Red Line track work was suspended, and a safety "stand down" was ordered to brief Red Line crews on the incident, offer counseling services, and reinstruct employees on safety procedures."
The work Ingram and the Metro employees were performing was part of a $5.5 billion project, the largest reconstruction effort since Metro was built back in the early 1970's.
The welding accident occurred along the outbound track, about 400 feet from the Union Station platform. Both the Tri-State Oversight Committee and National Transportation Safety Board were notified.
Committee President Klara Baryshev told Fox 5 over the phone, "We are very concerned about the safety of riders, employees and contractors and will be monitoring metro's investigation closely."
Due to the government shutdown, the NTSB public affairs team has been furloughed and cannot be reached for comment.According to WMATA, free shuttle buses will continue to operate between Dupont Circle and Noma-Gallaudet stations until system closing Sunday night. Normal rail service will be restored Monday morning.
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