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Metro passenger remembers 2015 Metrorail smoke incident

“This is it. This is how I’ll die.”

That’s what Tom Davey thought at the bleakest moments in the January 2015 Metrorail smoke incident that claimed the life of another passenger, Carol Glover.

Davey even tried to call his ex-wife so she could tell their daughter Althea that he loved her. But he couldn’t get a phone connection.

Federal investigations of the electrical fire, which burned the third rail and electrical cables, uncovered irregular maintenance, failure to replace old equipment, faulty safety inspections, and inadequate emergency protocols. The incident served as a wakeup call to Metro and the community that the increased safety effort, following the catastrophic 2009 crash that took nine lives, fell way short of the needed level.

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Anniversary vigil honors victims of fatal fire

  • Published in Local

SILVER SPRING — Flower Branch tenant Felicia Prospere said she can still remember the cries and screams from the fire and explosion that killed seven at the Silver Spring apartment complex last August.

“As soon as I opened – my husband opened the door – I just saw flames – big flames, people crying and screaming, people, you know, letting kids out of the windows, out of the balcony, people just crying for help,” Prospere said. “I couldn’t help them, all I could do was run to save my own life.”

On Aug. 10, the first anniversary of the fire at the Flower Branch Apartments complex located on Arliss Street in Silver Spring, tenants and community members gathered for a candlelight vigil to remember the sudden death and destruction from one year ago. Faith leaders, tenants, activists and politicians were present to remember the tenants that died in the fire: Fernando Jose Hernandez Orellana, 3, Deibi “David” Samir Lainez Morales, 8, Aseged Mekonen, 34, Saeda Ibrahim Deibi Samir, 41, Maria Auxiliadorai Castellon-Martinez, 53, Augusto Jimenez Sr., 62 and Saul Paniagua, 65.

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Fire and Rescue respond to trash fire in Silver Spring

  • Published in Local

Trash fire 1Montgomery County Fire and Rescue responded to a trash fire at an apartment complex in Silver Spring. PHOTO COURTESY OF ABBY SALISU Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service responded to a trash fire in Silver Spring Friday morning.

MCFRS Spokesperson Pete Piringer said firefighters responded to a call about a large trash fire at the Aston Woods apartment complex on Gateshead Manor Way in Silver Spring at around 10 a.m. Friday. Piringer said no one was injured in the fire.

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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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