Head of DC metro system announces 29-hour shutdown

The Latest on decision to shut down entire DC subway for inspections (all times local):

5 p.m.:

The head of the rail system that serves the nation's capital and its Virginia and Maryland suburbs says the system will shut down for a full day after a fire near one of the system's tunnels.

Metro head Paul J. Wiedefeld said the system would be shut down all of Wednesday. He made the announcement at a news conference Tuesday afternoon at the agency's headquarters.

The shutdown comes after a fire broke out Monday about 4:30 a.m. in the tunnel outside the McPherson Square station in downtown Washington. The fire led to delays on the orange, blue and silver lines, which go through the station.


4:20 p.m.

An official briefed on the decision says the entire Washington, D.C., subway system will shut down for at least 29 hours to inspect electrical components on the tracks.

The official spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to release the information ahead of a planned news conference at 4:30 p.m.

The official says the Metro subway system will shut down at midnight Tuesday and remain closed until at least 5 a.m. Thursday, which is the regularly scheduled opening time.

A fire on the tracks led to major delays throughout the system on Monday. The fire was caused by the same kind of electrical component that malfunctioned last year, causing a train to fill with smoke inside a downtown Washington tunnel.