COLLEGE PARK, Md. — One contractor died and two Metro employees were injured in a welding accident in a red line subway tunnel between Union Station and the Judiciary Square stop early Sunday, the transit agency said.
The contractor, who was providing welding services shortly after midnight, died at a hospital where he was taken after the accident, said Metro spokeswoman Caroline Lukas. Metro identified the contractor later as Harold Ingrham, 41, of New Jersey.
The two other workers were in serious condition in local hospitals with non-life threatening injuries, Metro said. Their identities were not immediately released following the incident.
According to a preliminary investigation, Metro said a fire and loud noise originated near heavy track equipment about 70 to 80 feet from the injured workers. The cause of the fire and noise had not been determined by Sunday afternoon, Metro said. Workers extinguished the fire using a hand-held fire extinguisher.
The accident caused a 40-foot section of rail to move, according to Metro’s investigation.
The Washington Post reported the accident involved an explosion and fire that broke out in a tunnel where some of the major rebuilding work was ongoing as part of a $5 billion capital campaign.
The contractor who died worked for Holland Co., Metro said.
Metro said red line rail service had already been suspended late Friday — prior to the accident — as work had targeted an area along the line comprised of five key stations: Farragut North, Metro Center, Gallery Place, Judiciary Square and Union Station. Plans had called for the five stations to remain closed for the work until the resumption of normal service Monday morning.
“The red line will continue to be shut down and free shuttle bus service provided as it was Saturday,” Lukas said. The free shuttle buses are operating between the Dupont Circle and NoMa-Gallaudet stations.
Normal rail service will resume before the Monday morning commute, Metro said.
In a statement after the incident, Metro said the National Transportation Safety Board and other agencies had been notified.
“All Red Line track work was suspended, and a Red Line safety ‘stand down’ was ordered to brief crews on the incident, offer counseling services to anyone who needs them, and reinstruct employees on safety procedures,” the transit agency said. “Work will continue to restore the track after all safety briefings and on-site investigations have been completed.”
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