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Waste facility still needs repairs, county says

  • Published in Local

County and state officials said they do not believe that a trash incinerator plant in Dickerson that caught fire in December is beyond repair.

While the cause of the fire, which lasted more than a day, is still not known, the Dec. 8 fire did bring attention to several issues that plague the Montgomery County Resource Recovery Facility located on 21204 Martinsburg Road.

County Executive Ike Leggett blamed the 21-year-old facility’s age for its recent issues.

“The facility, after 20 years or so in the amount of use, has had some failures; it was not able to burn as much trash as it was normally able to,” Leggett said.

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Woman charged with arson of her Silver Spring home

  • Published in Crime

Montgomery County fire investigators charged an adult woman with arson after a fire at her Silver Spring home Friday morning.

Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service (MCFRS) responded to a call around 1 a.m. in the second floor bedroom of a home on Sea Island Court in Silver Spring. Fire investigators charged an adult woman who lives at the residence with one count of first-degree arson and three counts of reckless endangerment.

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"A Serious Problem"

  • Published in Local

Hundreds of violations found in apartment complex that burned in August

Silver Spring fire 8-11-16This fire in August led to the loss of seven lives in Silver Spring.  FILE PHOTO  

SILVER SPRING - Nearly three months to the day after a fire at the Flower Branch Apartments cost the lives of seven residents, county housing inspectors found 860 housing code violations in 362 units.

“There’s no excuse for these code violations and for the number of citations that have been issued, obviously, and they need to be corrected immediately. I’m really disappointed,” said County Council President Nancy Floreen (D-At large).

The Nov. 9 inspection by the Department of Housing and Community Affairs (DHCA) revealed some of the same housing code violations the apartment complex had when it was last inspected in 2013, including 31 cases of infestations by mice, rats, roaches or bedbugs.

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Metro tackles variety of problems including 'smoldering' rail ties

  • Published in Local

metro logo

WASHINGTON – Several problems plagued the Metro and delayed service on the Red, Orange, Green and Blue lines this week including a smoldering wooden rail tie Monday that forced passengers to offload from the Red Line, spokesperson Ron Holzer said.

Holzer said a Metro supervisor extinguished the burning tie before it burst into flames and with minimal damage.

Meanwhile, riders on the Green and Yellow lines experienced delays Tuesday morning because the door to a railcar wouldn’t open at Georgia Avenue Station, Holzer said. 

The Metro safety department is also working on a response to safety directives from the Federal Transit Administration regarding protection of workers on the tracks. Metro’s Chief Safety Officer Pat Lavin told a board committee Thursday the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority workers in some sections of track will soon be issued wrist bands which will provide notice of oncoming trains.

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Metro Chief urges riders to show understanding

  • Published in Local

Metro fireA fire in a Metro tunnel earlier this year. FILE PHOTO  

WASHINGTON – Citing several Metro tragedies, Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld urged sports fans Thursday who opposed service cuts to give him a break.

Dozens of Metro riders took the opportunity Thursday to testify against the general manager’s proposal to permanently cut late evening service hours to allow for more maintenance, inspections and repairs. Some riders spoke out about the proposal prior to the public hearing.

Washington Nationals fans complained, chanting, “Metro sucks!” about finding alternate transportation when Metro closed before the end of a playoff a couple of weeks ago.

 Wiedefeld advised sports fans opposing the eight hours of service cuts to think about the worst safety incidents in Metro that stemmed from maintenance issues in the last few years.

“I think they have to understand that – just look back at the recent history of the agency and the tragedies that we’ve had,” Wiedefeld said, referencing the deadly L’Enfant Plaza smoke incident last year. “That’s what’s happening in my mind.”

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Metro deals with its latest track setbacks

  • Published in Local

Metro fireA Twitter post reportedly shows a recent fire on a track on the Metro's Red Line. COURTESY PHOTO

Brake problems on a Metro Red Line train and a broken rail requiring immediate repairs near a Metro station each caused trains to run on a single track during rush hour during the past week.

“Every train has multiple brake pads that apply and release,” Metro spokesperson Sherri Ly said. “Occasionally, a single brake pad on a train may not fully release, which can cause continual friction between the pad and the friction ring. This in turn, results in heat and brake dust.”

That is just one type of brake problem that happens on a Metro train. Each time Metro disables a train for this reason, it affects the rate of train traffic. It happened at Medical Center Station Sept. 29.

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Council briefed on deadly Silver Spring fire

  • Published in Local

ROCKVILLE -- The apartment complex that was the site of a devastating fire that killed seven people on Aug. 10 received 437 housing code violations when it was last inspected, according to Clarence Snuggs, director of Department of Housing and Community Affairs (DHCA).

Snuggs said the Flower Branch Apartments complex located on Piney Branch Road in Silver Spring was last inspected by County officials in May of 2013. Snuggs, along with other County officials, briefed the County Council and reviewed the County’s performance to help the victims of last month’s fire and explosion in Silver Spring.

Snuggs told the Council that the Flower Branch Apartments complex had a history of violations; there were 698 when the complex was inspected in 2010. Snuggs said that many of the violations were not safety-related.

“Not all of those are life-threatening violations,” Snuggs said.

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Debris sets off two Metro Center track fires

  • Published in Local

Metro Center Fire 2COURTESY PHOTO FROM TWITTER

WASHINGTON – Inspection and communication problems continue to plague Metro this week.

Tracks at Metro Center station caught fire twice over the weekend within three days of American Public Transit Association (APTA) representatives telling management and a board committee that filthy tracks can cause fires.

Metro spokesperson Morgan Dye said there were no injuries or significant damage reported related to the weekend fires. 

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