More proof that fire safety isn’t a priority for DC’s Metro system

DC Galley Place Metro 4-18-17

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The DC Fire and EMS Department this (Tuesday) afternoon responded to Gallery Place Metro for a reported fire on the tracks. Metro also responded to the event. Despite this being a reported fire, this is how one Metro employee parked near the scene. The vehicle is labeled “Response Team” and the seal on the door says “Mobile Operations” and “Track and Structures.”

This image should not be a surprise to anyone aware of Metro’s dismal safety record.

Since a deadly fire incident more than two-years-ago at L’Enfant Plaza the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority has been under extreme scrutiny for how it deals with the safety of its passengers and its interaction with area fire departments during emergencies. How, after all of this and the resulting news coverage, could Metro miss something so basic as making sure its employees don’t block fire hydrants?

Yes, in the scheme of all the other screw-ups since the 1970s — recharging the third rail with firefighters on the tracks (multiple times), delays alerting the fire department to numerous derailments and fires (so many times I’ve lost track), sending passenger filled trains into smokey tunnels (multiple times)  — this one is relatively minor.

Minor, in the sense that this time it doesn’t appear to have caused a significant problem. But if WMATA doesn’t deal with Metro employees who park on hydrants this sin will eventually find its way into some future NTSB investigative report when firefighters are delayed in getting water where its needed during a life or death emergency.

That’s how it has always worked with Metro. For 40-years firefighters complained, reporters reported and Metro ignored. That’s why Carol Glover died and scores of others were injured on January 12, 2015.

If its general manager and CEO, Paul J. Wiedefeld, wants to have any chance of  will take this picture and send it to every employee letting them know this can’t happen. Take no excuses.