Metro rider trapped on smoke-filled train: "I'm thankful to be here"

What's it like to be trapped inside a smoke-filled tunnel on a Metro train? Jonathan Rogers knows. He was one of the passengers aboard a Yellow line train trapped near busy L'Enfant Plaza Metro station Monday afternoon for about 40 minutes, and he helped give CPR to a woman he believes is the person who eventually passed away as a result.

Rogers, 31, first told his story to FOX 5's Bob Barnard on Tuesday morning on FOX 5 News Morning. He also shared video he shot inside the train, and on it, you can clearly hear people coughing and struggling to breathe.

"I'm thankful to be here," Rogers told FOX 5.

Rogers told his story about being with the woman, whom he says was unconscious for quite some time. He described her as being middle-aged, and said she didn't complain loudly about not feeling well at first. Then, Rogers said, she sunk to the floor and was having a very hard time breathing-- clearly being in the worst shape of anyone in the car.

Rogers and other passengers tried to help the woman, giving her water and helping her lie down on the floor where the air was a bit better. Eventually, she stopped talking, and Rogers joined several other passengers who took turns giving her CPR. They kept going until just before the firefighters arrived to rescue them. That's when another passenger scooped up the woman and headed to the back of the car, and that's the last time Rogers saw her.

In addition to that woman, Rogers described another man on the train who had a lot of trouble breathing. When the man told the other passengers he had asthma, but didn't have his inhaler, Rogers said someone sitting a few seats away immediately gave him an inhaler, and he was better after using it. Rogers thinks that passenger's generosity saved the man's life.

"It was scary. It was a little bit like when you're on a flight and there's some turbulence. And at first it's no big deal. Then you start looking around to see if other people are nervous – should I be nervous – it was just the smoke getting worse and worse – eventually everybody is nervous and people are praying."

Firefighters came to assist Rogers and other passengers from the train. When they finally got off the train, they walked single-file down the tunnel, which was smaller than he thought it would be. Once they got to the station, Rogers says he smelled the distinct smell of burning wood, and not an electrical smell.

Rogers is a D.C. resident who for the District of Columbia Department of Transportation. He says after getting out of the station, he rode a bike home.

"It was a scary afternoon, but I think for the most part I'm feeling fine compared to a lot of people I'm sure. Just feeling thankful," he said.
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