Up in Smoke

Up in Smoke

After an arcing event filled a Washington, D.C. subway tunnel with smoke and killed one passenger, investigators struggled to piece together the puzzle. But when the same thing happened just weeks later, they found the evidence they needed.

Smoke was all Patrick Adams could see when he stepped onto the platform — smoke and people stumbling and coughing as they searched the underground rail station for exits. As Adams would later tell investigators for the National Transportation and Safety Board (NTSB), the scene was nothing short of “chaotic.”

Adams is a rail supervisor for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA). At 3:10 p.m. on Jan. 12, 2015, he was dispatched to the Washington Metro rapid t

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