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Deadly Explosion Rocks D.C. Metro Near Union Station Platform

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Jessica Kartalija 3 Jessica Kartalija
Jessica Kartalija joined the Eyewitness News team during the summer of...
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WASHINGTON (WJZ) — In Washington, D.C., a deadly explosion rocks the Metro on a line known for its problems. Now officials are trying to determine what went wrong.

Jessica Kartalija has the latest.

Two Metro train employees and a contractor were rushed to the hospital after crews doing weekend work on the Red Line were injured in a welding accident.  The contractor died.

Metro says a fluid leak or mechanical problems caused a load noise or explosion. The transit system is looking to see if that caused a 40-foot rail to move and hit the workers.

D.C. Councilwoman Muriel Bowser is also a WMATA board member.

“We know a lot of hard-working men and women are putting their lives on the line every day to make this system safe,” she said. “I’m just very sorry to have learned about this incident, but will work with my colleagues on the board and all of the staff at Metro who are heartbroken as well to get to the bottom of this.”

The tunnel explosion and fire happened near the Union Station platform. A portion of the Red Line had already been shut down this weekend for track work.

Free shuttle buses helped passengers get around the district.

In 2010, two workers were killed by a piece of rail equipment near the Rockville Metro stop. This past May, fire erupted underneath a rail car at the Silver Spring Metro Station.

Metro has seen several derailments on the Red Line, including one in August near the Rhode Island Avenue station. Many can’t forget the deadliest in the transit system’s history back in 2009.

“We know we are undergoing major track work on the Red Line and that’s why we have the weekend closures,” said Bowser. “It is dangerous work and these workers are going into the system, all over the system so we can get it in the good state of repair that customers deserve.”

The Red Line is the oldest and busiest in the entire transit system. Crews were working as part of the transit’s $5 billion capital improvement program.

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