DC Fire Chief: All Firefighters to Get Metro Training

Washington's fire chief says all the city's firefighters will be trained on how to respond to emergencies on the subway system.

Interim Chief Eugene Jones said Wednesday at a D.C. Council hearing that the fire department has beefed up its training in response to a fatal accident on the Metro subway last month.

One woman died and more than 80 others were sickened when a train filled with smoke inside a tunnel near a downtown station.

In the past year, only 100 of the city's 1,700 firefighters had been trained on how to handle Metro incidents. That's a far lower training rate than in suburban jurisdictions. Jones says the frequency of training has increased and he's projecting that every firefighter will be trained within the next 2 months.

During the same hearing, Jones acknowledged only half of the department's ladder trucks have proper certification. Cost of major repairs for some of the trucks are expected to cost more than $2 million. The department is also facing major staffing hurdles; there are currently more than 100 vacancies. 

In the past 18 months, Jones said more than $17 million has been spent in overtime costs during the past 18 months.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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