- The Washington Times - Monday, October 7, 2013

The National Transportation Safety Board said it will not investigate a fatal welding accident along Metro’s Red Line because of the federal government shutdown.

In a statement posted on its website, the safety board said that “due to a lapse in funding … the agency can only engage in those activities necessary to address imminent threats to the safety of human life or for the protection of property.”

The board stated that the accident just after midnight Saturday “did not meet the criteria” needed to call back furloughed employees to investigate.

Metro officials said a contractor was killed and two Metro employees were injured in a tunnel between Union Station and Judiciary Square stations.

The contractor, Harold Ingram, 41, of New Jersey and employed by Holland Co., was welding in the tunnel when the incident occurred. He was transported to a hospital, where he died of his injuries.

Transit agency officials said they were investigating the cause of the accident. Officials said Sunday the crew was performing rail renewal, which involves removing old sections of rail and installing new sections.

They said a fire and a loud noise came from an area about 70 to 80 feet from the crew near some heavy track equipment used to weld rail sections together, then a 40-foot section of rail moved, striking the workers.

Officials could not say what caused the fire or what caused the rail to move. Metro declined to comment on the NTSB decision.

• Meredith Somers can be reached at msomers@washingtontimes.com.

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