Metro holds first emergency response training in Va. since deadly L’Enfant Plaza incident

(WTOP/Kathy Stewart)
Emergency response workers prepare for a drill at the Eisenhower Avenue Metro station in Alexandria, Va. on Sunday morning. (WTOP/Kathy Stewart)
The training exercise involved a derailed train about 1,000 feet away from the station. (WTOP/Kathy Stewart)
Metro’s General Manager Paul Wiedefeld says he is doing things differently to make it more like what really happens.  Instead of first responders already being on-site for the training exercise, he says they are now off-site. (WTOP/Kathy Stewart)
There have been three other full-scale drills in D.C. and Maryland last year following the deadly smoke incident that occurred at L’Enfant Plaza in January 2015. (WTOP/Kathy Stewart)
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(WTOP/Kathy Stewart)

WASHINGTON — Metro’s emergency response exercise at the Eisenhower Avenue Metro station in Alexandria on Sunday morning is the first one to take place in Virginia since the 2015 L’Enfant Plaza incident.

There have been three other full-scale drills in D.C. and Maryland last year following the deadly smoke incident that occurred at L’Enfant Plaza in January 2015.

The training exercise Sunday involved a derailed train, on elevated tracks, about 1,000 feet away from the station and partially inside of a tunnel with about 100 passengers on board.

Metro’s General Manager Paul Wiedefeld says he is doing things differently to make it more like what really happens.  Instead of first responders already being on-site for the training exercise, he says they are now off-site.

“I didn’t like it all just being right there.  Because I want them to feel like, OK, I just arrived, now I enter into a different frame of mind,” he says.

Alexandria Fire Chief Robert Dube says the training is all about getting hands-on experience.

“When something like this does occur, hopefully it doesn’t, then we’ll be much better prepared for it,” he says.

The last full-scale training exercise Metro held was in December 2015 at the Forest Glen Metro station in Montgomery County, Maryland.  The exercise involved two separate training scenarios: One with a suspicious package on a Metro bus, and another involving an evacuation due to smoke inside a tunnel.

The other two drills took place at the Stadium-Armory and Greenbelt Metro stations.

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