The Eastern Market Metro station in Washington D.C. experienced a distressing incident on Thursday afternoon, leading to its closure for several hours. The cause of concern was an arcing insulator, which produced a loud noise and emitted billowing smoke, alarming passengers and prompting a swift response from emergency services.

Authorities, including D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services (EMS), were quick to address the situation. They evaluated nine individuals for smoke inhalation symptoms, with one person requiring hospitalization. Thankfully, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) confirmed that there did not appear to be any life-threatening injuries resulting from the incident.

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Social media played a pivotal role in spreading awareness about the event, with videos showing heavy, slightly yellow smoke enveloping the platform and spilling over the entrance gates. The visuals captured people’s urgent exits, running or walking briskly towards the escalators to escape the smoky environment. Despite the alarming scene, officials did not confirm the occurrence of an explosion, a term used by some social media users to describe the incident.

The source of the smoke and loud noise was identified as an insulator on fire underneath a railcar, according to D.C. Fire and EMS’s statement. The fire was promptly extinguished, and exhaust fans were activated to clear the smoke from the station, ensuring the area was safe for investigation and eventual reopening.

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Eyewitness accounts added to the understanding of the situation. Gregory Pittman, a passenger on the train, managed to capture video footage of sparks flying outside the car window. He described a vivid scene where sparks seemed to originate from beneath the train and tracks, accompanied by loud popping sounds. This observation provided a firsthand perspective on the moments leading up to the incident, from the Stadium-Armory station until reaching Potomac Avenue.