Closed tunnel delays Metro passengers

Foggy Bottom and Rosslyn Metro stations were evacuated Saturday while officials spent more than an hour investigating smoke rising from the tunnel between the two stations.

Metropolitan Police shut down the tunnel around 12:30 p.m. while city firefighters looked for the cause of the smoke, said police Sgt. T. Haselden. The stations re-opened at 1:40 p.m.

An electrical shortage in a pump under the Potomac River caused the smoke, said Kevin Sloan, acting chief of the D.C. Fire Department’s Sixth Battalion.

“We saw smoke in the Rosslyn station coming from the direction of D.C.,” Sloan said. “We always cover both stations on either side of an incident.”

More than 40 D.C. firefighters were sent to the scene. A rescue squad, emergency services team and a hazardous materials unit also were present to investigate the problem. No one was hurt, city officials said.

The delay, however, upset some local travelers.

“I’ve got to go to work. How am I going to explain this to my boss? I’m already late,” said D.C. resident Jose Wilson to a firefighter who was keeping people out of the Foggy Bottom station.

“I’m just trying to get from here to there and it’s locked down,” added Foggy Bottom resident H. Calwell, who was headed to Metro Center.

After waiting for half an hour, Calwell gave up. “I’m going to go home,” she said.

Metro officials attempted to reduce inconvenience by providing shuttle bus service, said M.P. Cheek, a Metro supervisor on the scene.

Shuttles ran between the Rosslyn, Foggy Bottom and Metro Center stations, he said.

J. Feagans, a Virginia resident, was traveling with his daughter to a magic shop near the Farragut West station.

“We got shuttled from Rosslyn to Foggy Bottom, thinking the train

would run from there,” Feagans said. “Then we were told the station was closed there too, so we would have to wait for another shuttle to go to Metro Center and then take a subway to Farragut West. We didn’t have enough time for that, so we’re now waiting to catch a shuttle back to Virginia.”

But firefighter John York said the reaction was not all negative.

“People I’ve spoken to aren’t angry, just inconvenienced, concerned and curious,” he said.

Howard Smith, a flower vendor at the Foggy Bottom station, profited from the delay.

“Some people saw the flowers and were just standing around, so they thought twice and decided to buy something,” Smith said.

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