Summary on Decrease in Reports of Fire Extinguisher Discharges Aboard WMATA Rail Cars

In Spring of 2018, we began reporting when individuals would discharge fire extinguishers aboard rail cars, which would subsequently require the car to be isolated or removed from service, and cleaned as a result of the dry chemical dust that is produced during discharge. These events typically occurred on the Red Line in the afternoon on weekdays between Tenlytown-AU and Metro Center.

Over the past 4 months we’ve noticed a decrease in reports of extinguishers being discharged and began to investigate.

We’ve determined that WMATA has begun to remove the passenger accessible fire extinguisher from rail cars. Below are three photos, the first showing a fire extinguisher installed on a 7K series car, the second shows the extinguisher and associated signage removed, and the third shows the location of a removed extinguisher on a legacy 3K series rail car.

There is concern for the ability of passengers being able to respond to a fire incident in the event that both the train is disabled and operator incapacitated.

Fire Extinguisher installed under the seat for passenger access
Fire Extinguisher location showing the extinguisher removed
Fire Extinguisher location showing the extinguisher removed on a legacy car

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