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Metro Contractor Killed In Welding Accident On Red Line

http://www.flickr.com/photos/10037058@N08/4932090205/

One contractor was killed and two WMATA employees were injured overnight in a welding accident that caused a fire in the Red Line tunnel between Union Station and Judiciary Square Metro stations.

Leaking hydraulic fluid may have been ignited by welding equipment, causing an explosion and fire between Union Station and Judiciary Square stations. Metro Transit Police and safety personnel are investigating.

The contractor who was killed worked for the Holland Company, a firm that provides rail welding services.

The contractor was providing welding services in the tunnel when the incident occurred shortly after midnight Sunday. He was transported to a local hospital where he died of his injuries. Two WMATA employees also were transported to local hospitals and are being treated for serious, but non-life-threatening injuries.

The National Transportation Safety Board says it was notified of the accident that killed one worker and injured two others early Sunday, but decided against sending investigators.

The NTSB has said they will not be investigating the incident due to the government furlough (pdf):

Due to a lapse in funding, NTSB staff are furloughed. The agency can only engage in those activities necessary to address imminent threats to the safety of human life or for the protection of property. After careful consideration it was determined that this accident did not meet the criteria for exempting employees from furlough. The NTSB has requested that WMATA provide their investigation report to the NTSB for evaluation in the future.

The NTSB says it has asked Metro to provide its investigation report for evaluation in the future.

Track work was suspended on the Red Line after the incident. Normal service has resumed on Monday morning.

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