The federal government shutdown seems to be affecting yet another area of public concern…this time the safety of Metrorail workers in the Washington, D.C., area. Our team of personal injury attorneys has recently learned about a downtown Washington, D.C., railway accident that killed one worker and injured two more just after midnight on October 6, 2013.
Due to the government shutdown, a statement published on the National Transportation Safety Board website stated that “due to a lapse in funding…the agency can only engage in those activities necessary to address imminent threats to the safety of human life or the protection of property.” According to the board, this recent accident “did not meet the criteria” required to bring back workers to investigate the incident and whether it was preventable or not.
Officials initially looking into the incident said that the crew had been working inside a tunnel on the Metro’s Red Line between Union Station and Judiciary Square stations when the incident occurred.
According to reports, a loud noise and a fire broke out about 70 to 80 feet away from where the rail workers were performing rail renewal, a process that involves removing old sections of rail and replacing them with new sections. Sources report that a portion of the Red Line had been shut down for a few days as part of Metro’s major rebuilding project. Immediately after the fire and noise, a 40-foot section of rail moved, hitting the three workers.
The victim fatally injured in the incident has been identified as Harold Ingram, 41, of New Jersey. The other two injured rail workers were taken to MedStar and to Howard to receive treatment for their injuries. Following the incident, they were listed in stable condition, but suffering from back-related injuries described as serious but non-life-threatening.
It is unclear as to what caused the rail to move and strike the men, or what the cause of the explosion was. But, reports did say that the nature of the men’s injuries did not appear to be caused by the fire, but rather by the collision with the metal rail. Metro has yet to comment on the NTSB decision not to look into the accident.
At Lewis & Tompkins, we’d like to extend our deepest condolences to the family and loved ones of Mr. Ingram, and our thoughts for a full and quick recovery to those injured by this recent Washington, D.C., railway accident.