The 911 respondents for the tragic incident at the L’Enfants Plaza station in Washington this January will respond… in front of the law. Victims stuck breathing deadly smoke, on the train, for more than half an hour are filling a lawsuit against the transport authorities.
Officials from the District of Columbia said that after half an hour after the incident was reported, passengers were still waiting for help. The terrible incident caused the death of one woman and injured over eighty people, after the underground train filled with smoke due to an electrical malfunction. The cause of the electrical breakdown is still unknown.
Most of the passengers on the train thought they were living their last moments. Maltreat Rich, of 53 year old, said that he looked around and couldn’t accept that what was happening was real. He called his mother and children and told them how much he loved them, as he thought he wasn’t going to make it alive.
As minutes were passing by, the smoke was becoming more and more thick at the point that, after 50 minutes it became unbreathable. With every minute spent on the train, the hope started to fade away and the smoke was getting denser.
There was no way out and the train was stuck in the tunnel, being blocked by another train that couldn’t back up. The transit police officers could be heard yelling at the command to get the train behind out.
There had been thirteen 911 calls reporting the incident and units have been dispatched to the location based on the calls, said City Administrator Rashad Young. Yet passengers said that they waited for more than 40 minutes.
The first emergency call was at 3:18 p.m. when a person reported smoke coming out from a tunel close to the station. It was followed by other 911 calls, at 3:45, two passengers called to ask if help was on its way. 24 minutes later, at 4:09 p.m. it was reported that officials were trying to resuscitate the woman who passed away at the hospital. Passengers tried to revive the 61 year old woman before the medical teams arrived. The woman was taken to the hospital at 4:25, at an hour after smoke was reported.
The lawyer representing the victims who are filling a lawsuit against the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, Kim Brooks Rodney, said that the goal of this lawsuit is to prevent other similar incidents from happening.
Rodney is alleging negligence in maintenance and technical inspections but also a negligent authorities response when the accident happened, even though she initially said that the lawsuit wouldn’t be filed against the District of Columbia. She said that passengers should have bee released sooner and not held like rats for 45 minutes in a train filled with deadly smoke.
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