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Burning insulation causes DC to evacuate Metro station and suspend service on multiple lines

WASHINGTON — An insulator under a rail car caught fire Thursday, forcing the evacuation of an underground Metro station when smoke filled the station.

The DC Fire and Emergency Services agency posted on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, that nine people were evaluated for injuries and that one was transported after the incident at the Eastern Market station. None of the injuries were reported to be life-threatening.

Service was suspended on parts of three Metro lines as a result of the incident.

Video from the scene posted on social media showed heavy smoke filling the upper part of the station entrance as a Metro employee ran out shouting “empty the station!”

D.C.’s Fire and Emergency Services agency posted on X that the smoke was caused by an “insulator on fire under railcar in station.” It was quickly extinguished.

Metro officials announced that service on the Blue, Orange and Silver lines would be suspended in between the Federal Center and Stadium-Armory stations.

Washington’s Metro system, which extends into the intertwined communities of northern Virginia and Maryland, has struggled in recent years with a host of safety problems, including a string of seemingly similar station fires.

Most recently, Metro officials were forced to suspend the majority of its railcar fleet in 2021 after a derailing revealed chronic problems with the wheels and axles. A subsequent investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board investigation concluded that the agency had a “poor safety culture” under former chief Paul Wiedefeld — who currently serves as Maryland’s Secretary of Transportation.

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