In meeting with DC Council, Metro board chair doesn't reveal many details about smoke incident

D.C. leaders met with Metro on Tuesday to discuss last week's deadly incident that left one woman dead and dozens of others injured-- but when the transit agency found out FOX 5 and other members of the media would be there, too, they said they couldn't reveal many details with the media present.

After taking a few on-the-record questions, the chairman of the D.C. Council called for a vote to kick the media out. Before reporters were locked out, Metro board chairman Tom Downs took questions, but he only answered a few. Downs says because of a signed agreement with the NTSB, Metro is limited in what it can say about the incident.

Still, council members fired off questions. Mary Cheh wanted to know if safety repairs had been made, and Yvette Alexander was concerned about evacuation protocols.

Downs did defend Metro on one issue: Ventilation fans. He said the allegations that the fans weren't working during the incident were "dead wrong," and that the fans didn't need fixing. He didn't mention whether the fans were turned on at the proper time during the incident.

And what about the third rail confusion? Was power shut off in time? Downs only pointed out that firefighters can shut down power manually with buttons in place every 800 feet.

The media and the public may only learn more when the NTSB briefs council members, or on February 5, when witnesses will be called during a special council hearing.

Metro is expected to brief the local congressional delegation on Capitol Hill Wednesday. It's unlikely those leaders will get much more information.

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