Feds fault DC subway for inadequate maintenance

Posted at 5:16 PM, May 03, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-03 17:17:09-04

Federal investigators have found that a fire that killed a Washington subway passenger last year was caused by the Metro system's "ineffective inspection and maintenance practices."

The National Transportation Safety Board adopted its final report on the January 2015 fire during a meeting on Tuesday. One woman died and dozens of passengers were sickened when an electrical malfunction caused a train to fill with smoke inside a downtown Washington tunnel.

The NTSB described the malfunction as a "prolonged short circuit" that can be traced to Metro's poor maintenance. NTSB investigators found that the third-rail power cables at the site of the malfunction were damaged by moisture and other contaminants.

NTSB Chairman Christopher Hart stressed that a lack of strong federal oversight has led to Metro's failure to make safety improvements.