Security and Safety

Radio encryption blamed for failure in deadly D.C. tunnel incident

Posted on January 23, 2015

Larry Levine_WMATA
Larry Levine_WMATA

WASHINGTON, D.C. —The National Transportation Safety Board and the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (Metro) revealed its first detailed account of some of the problems that occurred in last week's deadly smoke incident at L'Enfant Plaza and what is being done to fix it, My Fox DC reported.

The failure of D.C.'s Fire and EMS radios inside the tunnels appeared to be a major flaw, but Metro now says there was nothing wrong with its radio antennas or repeaters in the underground station and tunnels. An initial report from D.C. Fire and EMS said Metro was notified about problems with the radios four days earlier. Metro spent several days trying to locate the problem but found none. The problem Metro now says was D.C. Fire and EMS.

Metro claims it notified D.C.'s Office of Unified Communications the morning of the L'Enfant malfunction that its radio network appeared to be working, but it wanted to check what is known as a "donor site" linking Metro's radio network with first responders. During the incident, one person died and more than 80 others were injured after being trapped on a train in a smoke-filled tunnel. For the full story, click here.

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