L’Enfant Plaza Metro Station Closed due to Smoke – “One dead, two in critical condition”

Gallery place crowds forming at 350pm

Reports are l’enfant plaza is closed. Updates when more info is available and I get to a computer.

Mass casualty event declared by dcfd. Hope all are ok. Updates soon.

Update from Metro PD:

“Metro Transit Police and fire department personnel are on scene at L’Enfant Plaza for smoke in the station.

The source of the smoke has not been determined. The station has been evacuated and is temporarily closed at this time.

Metro has activated tunnel fans to ventilate the area.

Service Information:
• Green Line service is SUSPENDED between Navy Yard and Mt Vernon Square.
• Yellow Line service is SUSPENDED between Pentagon City and Mt Vernon Square.
• Blue/Orange/Silver line trains are BYPASSING L’Enfant Plaza (passing through the station without stopping).
• L’Enfant Plaza is closed.
• Riders should consider alternate travel options. To view bus options, use Metro’s trip planner and select the “bus only” option. Expect significant delays.”

Update from @IAFF36:

“Mass Casualty” is a term utilized when additional resources are potentially necessary on large scale incidents”

Update from @metrorailinfo:

“Shuttle buses are enroute to L’Enfant Plaza & Navy Yard. 4:16p”

Update from @dcfireems:

“Metro Box Alarm Update – Passengers are being removed from disable train inside of tunnel. No injuries have been reported.”

Update from @Metrobusinfo:

“23A,25A,25C: Due to traffic congestion, buses are delayed up to 15 minutes in both directions.

32,34,36,39: Due to traffic congestion downtown, buses are delayed up to 20 minutes in both directions.”

Update 4:40pm from @Metrorailinfo:

Board Green Line shuttle buses at the following locations – Navy Yard: @ M St & NJ Ave; L’Enfant Plaza: @ 7th & C St

Update – you can see photos from the smoke filled trains and tunnel here.

Update 4:50pm from @Metrorailinfo:

“Green/Yellow lines: Rail service SUSPENDED btwn Navy Yard/Pentagon City & Mt Vernon Sq. Seek alternate travel options.

L’Enfant Plaza remains closed. FD on scene. Source of smoke remains undetermined. All evacuations completed.”

Update 5:30pm from @dcfireems:

“Update: Metro Box Alarm – 1 pt. transported with serious injuries and 5 pt. transported with minor injuries to area hospitals.”

Update 5:50pm from @DDOTDC:

“Closures: Indep Ave SW btw 7th & 10th St in both directions, 10th street from Indep Ave to D St. SW, D st btw 7th st & 10th St. 7th St DSt.”

From @Metrorailinfo:

“Green/Yellow update: Trains now servicing Gallery Pl for service to/from Greenbelt. Service remains suspended btwn Gallery Pl & Navy Yard”

Update 6pm from [email protected]:

“H1,H2,H3,H4,H8: Due to traffic congestion near Columbia Rd & 13th St NW, buses are delayed in both directions.”


“Green/Yellow lines: Rail service SUSPENDED between Navy Yard/Pentagon & Mt Vernon Sq. Seek alternate travel options. 6:05p”

Update 7:45pm from @dcfireems:

“Metro Box Alarm Update: 84pts. transported to area hospitals with various injuries. Over 200 people evaluated.1 firefighter injured. Update: Injured firefighter was transported to local hospital w/ serious but non-life threatening injuries.”

Washington Post reports:

“One dead, two in critical condition, with many others taken to hospitals.”


“L’Enfant Plaza Station remains closed; Green/Yellow service suspended between Gallery Place and Navy Yard & Pentagon City. 7:40p”


“Advised @NTSB is launching an investigation into L’Enfant incident. As a result, all info related to investigation will come from NTSB.”

Update 8:14pm from @Metrorailinfo:

L’Enfant Plaza Station has re-opened for Orange/Silver/Blue line service ONLY. Enter using the 7th & Maryland Av or 7th & D St entrances.

Green/Yellow line service will REMAIN SUSPENDED through end of service day btwn Gallery Place & Navy Yard/Pentagon.”

55 Comment

  • My sister just texted me saying that Metro trains aren’t stopping at L’Enfant Plaza to let passengers off or get on either.

  • Per metro: “L’ENFANT PLAZA STATION IS CLOSED. GR/YL lines: Service SUSPENDED btwn Navy Yard/Pentagon City & Mt Vernon Sq. seek alternate travel options; OR/SV/BL lines: Trains are BYPASSING L’Enfant Plaza due to fire department activity. “

    • Yeah, Dr. Gridlock has nothing about that, neither does DC Fire/EMS twitter. Hoping it’s misinformation.

    • Yeah… what? This is the definition I got:

      A mass casualty incident (often shortened to MCI and sometimes called a multiple-casualty incident or multiple-casualty situation) is any incident in which emergency medical services resources, such as personnel and equipment, are overwhelmed by the number and severity of casualties

      That seems a bit extreme to use describing this event. Right now I’m seeing that 6 people were injured.

      • Your local firefighter here. I think in the end over 80 people were transported. MCI usually brings along a number of EMT/Medics who can triage at scene to properly direct patients to the right hospitals. MCI isn’t just for the firefighters on scene, it sets off protocols for hospitals to start preparing for a large influx of people. MCI’s also can be called due to specific types of events. I.E. smoke inhalation. Most hospitals are only equipped to handle 4-5 of these patients at a time, assuming worst case scenario of mechanical ventilation. If they have compounding burns they can ONLY be brought to WHC in DC or JH Bayview in Baltimore. Ask the burn unit doctors/nurses at either – 4 people at one time is certainly a MCI in terms of resources and personnel needed.

  • so what does “mass casualty event” mean here?

  • pworthy

    “Mass Casualty” is a term utilized when additional resources are potentially necessary on large scale incidents

  • there are a bunch of fire trucks and ambulances at 9th and Maine Ave and 9th and Water Street. They’ve been there at least an hour.

  • “Mass casualty” can mean anything – including evac of trains and/or smoke inhalation.

  • From what I’ve heard, “Mass Casualty” is the standard term to use because there were over 12 people that had smoke inhalation. Not nearly as intense as what I thought at first, but that’s the terminology.

    • One woman dead and at least two others in critical condition….perhaps mass casualty wasn’t terribly unwarranted after all. Awful.

  • what’s the difference between suspended and bypassing?

    • Suspended = No service at all.
      Bypassing = Going through the station but not stopping.

      • thanks but would there be train service between Columbia Heights and Mount Vernon Square then?

        • I _think_ so, but I’m not clear whether it’s suspended between Navy Yard/Pentagon City and Mt. Vernon Square _including_ the stations at both ends, or whether you can get Green/Yellow service northbound _starting_ at Mt. Vernon Square.
          (I’m thinking it’s the latter because Mt. Vernon Square is where they have a “pocket track.”)

          • I’m hoping it’s the latter. Otherwise they would (should) say “all green and yellow line service suspended” but you never know with WMATA

    • Green Line service is SUSPENDED between Navy Yard and Mt Vernon Square.
      Yellow Line service is SUSPENDED between Pentagon City and Mt Vernon Square.
      Blue/Orange/Silver line trains are BYPASSING L’Enfant Plaza (passing through the station without stopping).

  • hispanicandproud

    Sent word to my mom that I’m not dead and that I’m out of state. She normally hears DC news before me.

  • People were stuck on that train in pitch-black, breathing in smoke for forty minutes according to some reports. I wonder if something held up the evacuation plan, or they just never even had a plan.

    • On the radio I heard an interview with an NPR employee (I think?) who was on the train, saying that the train operator told them to stay put and they ended up evacuating of their own accord.

    • I was in the second car of that train, on the floor breathing smoke so thick our faces were black when we finally evacuated after 45 minutes on the floor in the dark. Anybody wanting details about the responders, or the notion of the “Panic Dynamic’ in such quarters is welcome to comment. I have all the details of my experience, plus observations of human behavior in my car – some honorable, most cooperative under duress, and the occasional assholes making their presence known. It made me wonder: at what point do we break the doors vs. listen to officials? I welcome criticism/comments from those On That Train.

      • Glad you’re ok. The thought of being stuck like that while with one (or both) of my kids makes me ill.

      • Emmaleigh504

        I’m so sorry you had to go through that. I’m glad you made it out.

      • I’m so glad you’re ok. How horrible.

      • Florista, I’m glad you’re OK. If you feel like writing a longer account of your experience, I’m sure PoPville folks would be very interested in reading it.

      • ditto. very glad that you’re ok. as a daily metro rider, I am interested to hear how the response to today’s terrible incident could have been better. if you feel comfortable sharing more about your experience, I think people in popville would appreciate hearing about it.

        • I am 100% wiling to write about my experience if you’re interested. Please tell me how to get in touch. I am free/honest with my opinions about what happened, but not in a hurry to expose same to some of our non-neighborly trolls. If you like, perhaps let the Prince connect us?

          • understandable – I just made the mistake of reading the comments section on the WaPo article and, well, the internet can be full of idiots sometimes. I work by L’Enfant Plaza (at HUD) and I had no idea just how serious the situation was while it was unfolding, and it was happening just a short distance away from me. I can’t imagine having been on the train – I think I’d feel completely shellshocked afterwards. I will email PoP and ask him to give you my email.

          • gotryit

            Please consider posting publicly. If you can ignore the several trolls, it is truly eye opening for the rest of us to read a first hand account. Some of us may actually learn something that helps in a future incident.

          • justinbc

            He can post an OpEd and simply shut off comments.

      • At the first sign of smoke, doors open. No question.

      • I was once stuck on an NJ transit train for eight hours in a tornado, and I know I would’ve done the same thing and listened to the conductor. It took me the whole eight hours to finally sneak out the emergency hatch with police yelling from the ground to stay in the train. Who knows if those tracks will electrocute you or what’s waiting outside.

  • Yikes. When I left the office, it sounded like this was a fairly minor incident. By the time I finally got home an hour and a half later, it was clear that this was not minor at all — one dead, two in critical condition, with lots more people being treated for smoke inhalation. Very disturbing indeed.

    • Emmaleigh504

      There are so many incidents on metro that we think they are all minor and act accordingly. I’m sad this wasn’t just another Monday incident and was more serious. Those poor people.

      • Yeah. Even for those people who didn’t need any hospital treatment, the experience must’ve been a harrowing one, especially coming so soon after the incidents in Paris.

      • Thanks, Emilie – I’ve thought very highly of your opinion over the PoP years…once home (a bit after 5) I saw the TV coverage and it hardly scratched the surface of what the response looked like.

  • I’m shyly astonished and completely floored by your comments, PoPvillagers; truly moved. Once above ground after the incident, I stumbled into a taxi amidst the police cars, triage areas and firetrucks at L’Enfant – wandered right into the intersection of Independence/9th like an idiot – called spouse and then Mom (who might see it on National news, given our terror climate). THEN, at home – the tears, holy cow! Thank you all for your lovely well-wishes. Going to the doc tomorrow to check lungs/document; def NOT taking Metro anywhere for the rest of the week.

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