Inspectors: Metro must immediately fix new safety concerns

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Federal inspectors have highlighted more than 220 defects during an inspection of Washington's subway system, saying the concerns require Metro to take immediate action.

In a letter sent Monday to Metro's general manager, the Federal Transit Administration says Metro has failed to provide working fire extinguishers and clear escape routes to help riders in the event of an emergency evacuation, among other "critical concerns."

FTA Associate Administrator Thomas Littleton says Metro must confirm the undertaking of safety briefings for workers by Friday.

Metro spokeswoman Sherri Ly says "all safety critical items are receiving priority attention."

The letter comes just over a month after officials shut down the entire system for emergency inspection of power cables that officials feared could endanger the lives of thousands of riders.