Metro GM Wiedefeld: 'We are not a fire department. That's not what we do'

- When you ride on Metro, do you expect the transit agency to help rescue you if you get into a dangerous situation? That is what many people have been asking after lawyers representing Metro turned blame from itself and towards the D.C. Fire and EMS Department for the L'Enfant Plaza smoke incident that left one passenger dead.

The finger-pointing got heated earlier this week when a legal document was filed asking for a $50 million lawsuit against Metro to be dropped. The lawsuit was filed by the family of Carol Glover, the woman who died inside a smoke-filled Metro train stuck inside a tunnel near the L'Enfant Plaza station back in January 2015, claims that negligence by Metro led to her death.

But Metro’s lawyers are now placing the blame at D.C. firefighters, essentially saying it is up for them to get passengers to safety and not the responsibility of Metro.

Metro general manager Paul Wiedefeld and Metro Board chairman Jack Evans both said Thursday they could not comment about this case as well as the lawsuit because of legal reasons. But when we asked how Metro passengers should feel if there is an emergency situation in the transit system similar to the one that happened back in 2015, here is what they had to say.

“Our role is not to be – we are not a fire department,” said Wiedefeld. “That’s not what we do.”

“What I would tell the riders is that they can trust Metro,” said Evans. “If an emergency occurs on any of our cars or in our system, that we will respond with the greatest alacrity in trying to provide the safest system we can.”

On Tuesday, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and Fire Chief Gregory Dean defended its firefighters for their response to 2015 incident. Bowser said, "Our firefighters ran into harm's way to make sure that they served and saved people. But for their actions, we don't even know what the severity of that incident could have been."

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