DC officials: Subway passengers were still asking for help 27 minutes after …

15 Jan 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Timeline Shows Long Wait for Help on Smoke-Filled DC Subway.

WASHINGTON — Passengers on a smoke-filled subway train in the nation’s capital were still asking when help would arrive 27 minutes after the smoke was first reported, District of Columbia officials said Thursday. While it does not disclose the time that paramedics reached the smoke-filled train, it confirms the accounts of passengers who said they waited more than a half-hour for help.

The timeline also shows that firefighters were on the scene for 13 minutes before Metro subway officials confirmed that people were trapped on a train and that the electrified third rail had been shut down. It was not clear whether that fire was related to the electrical malfunction that caused the smoke, but it occurred north of the L’Enfant Plaza station.

Many passengers on the stricken train decided to evacuate on their own before emergency responders got there, despite instructions from the train operator to stay put. “We were not given any information that police or fire were en route or nearby,” said Luis Clemens, 47, a National Public Radio editor who left the train. “All we got was, ‘Stay in place. Don’t leave.’ And that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense when you’re sitting there, watching, over some period, watching the subway cars fill up with smoke.”

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