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Smoke-Filled Subway Train Leaves 1 Dead, 84 Hospitalized In D.C.

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Smoke inhalation victims walk past a firefighter towards a medical aid bus Monday after passengers on the Washington, D.C., subway were injured when smoke filled the L'Enfant Plaza station during the afternoon rush hour.
Paul J. Richards, AFP/Getty Images
Smoke inhalation victims walk past a firefighter towards a medical aid bus Monday after passengers on the Washington, D.C., subway were injured when smoke filled the L'Enfant Plaza station during the afternoon rush hour.

One subway passenger died and more 84 were taken to the hospital, including two still in critical condition, when a Washington, D.C., train filled with smoke late Monday afternoon, WAMU reports.

The train halted in a tunnel just outside L'Enfant Plaza station, a major junction in the system, and then the power went out and smoke flooded into the car, NPR employee Luis Clemens told the radio station.

"Jonathan Rogers, an employee with the D.C. Department of Transportation, was on the same train, but remained in the rail car as instructed by the conductor. He says the smoke affected a number of passengers around him, including a woman who passed out and had to be given CPR.

" 'One woman ... was keeling over, and on the floor and saying she couldn't breathe. We were trying to fan her and give her water, and then she started laying down and eventually she stopped talking. We tried to give her CPR for 20, 25 minutes. It just didn't seem to be doing anything,' he says.

"The passengers eventually evacuated to the back of the train, and the woman who had passed out was carried out of the train. 'I have no idea what happened to her. She was kinda of vomiting a little bit, but then we couldn't feel a pulse,' he says.

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" 'It was scary, but people were pretty calm considering,' says Rogers. (Listen to the full interview with him here.) But Clemens describes the situation as more chaotic."

The incident, the first fatal accident on the system since a 2009 crash between two trains killed nine, will be investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board, WAMU reports.

The source of the smoke is still under investigation.

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