May 30th, 2010
02:46 PM ET

Washington train station evacuated

Authorities evacuated Union Station, the main train terminal in Washington, D.C., on Sunday afternoon due to a chemical odor from an equipment closet, according to a spokesman for the D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department.

The odor, described as smelling like sulfur or natural gas, was believed to come from an area where batteries and other equipment is stored, said fire department spokesman Peter Piringer.

A hazardous materials response team was on the scene, Piringer said. No injuries were reported, but authorities decided to evacuate the entire station as a precaution.

An Amtrak spokesman said all rail traffic in and out of the station was temporarily suspended due to the evacuation.  Subway service continued to operate, but trains were not stopping at Union Station, according to the Washington Metro Area Transit Authority.


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soundoff (96 Responses)
  1. rose, i am watching you

    hard to keep an eye on the watchers sometimes. they keep strange hours.

    May 30, 2010 at 8:18 pm | Report abuse |
  2. bjohnson

    WoW, now the cleaning staff are home grown terrorists too, could it be a training cell....send them to the FEMA camps for interrogation..

    May 30, 2010 at 8:21 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Gordon

    When mixed, bleach and ammonia create chlorine gas, which can quite easily kill you.

    Reaction type 1: Ammonia directly reacts with bleach to form hydrazine (N2H4, which, in addition to being extremely poisonous, can burn even in the absence of air! It explodes on contact with rust!

    2NH3 + NaOCl -–> N2H4 + NaCl + H2O

    Reaction type 2: Bleach hydrolyzes into sodium hydroxide and hypochlorous acid, which in turn decompose into chlorine gas and nascent oxygen (both poisonous). The chlorine gas in turn reacts with the ammonia to form chloramines, also very poisonous.

    NaOCl -–> NaOH + HOCl
    HOCl -> HCl + O (monatomic oxygen)
    NaOCl + 2HCl -–> Cl2 + NaCl + H2O
    2NH3 + Cl2 ---> 2NH2Cl (chloramine)
    4NH3 + 2Cl2 --> 2NHCl2 (dichloramine)
    6NH3 + 3Cl2 --> NCl3 (trichloramine or nitrogen trichloride)

    So to all of those who have made idiotic comments here, know what you're talking about before you comment.

    May 30, 2010 at 8:36 pm | Report abuse |
  4. 10 Year Old's Perspective

    You guys are all crazy. It's better to be safe than have something deadly occur... even if it isn't a terrorist attack and just a janitor knocking over a bottle it could still be dangerous.

    May 30, 2010 at 8:37 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Cod

    lmfao i was there and there was no terrorism just evacuate the building and wait a long ass time

    May 30, 2010 at 8:54 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Damião Carlos

    Hello everybody, let me change a little bit of subject and spread my webblog http://www.englishtips-self-taught.blogspot.com

    May 30, 2010 at 9:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • JLM

      I was there today. The Amtrak staff, the firemen and search dogs, as well as all of the occupants in the building were calm. They weren't claiming it to be a terrorist attack. Their mission was to evacuate the building to keep people from being sick or injured. No one was blowing it out of proportion. These things need to be checked out and examined to the great detail that they are, unfortunately – in today's climate. Thank you to Washington D.C.'s response. I could smell the gas before I even entered the building. It could have been very harmful. We decided to take other modes of transportation, to be cautious.

      May 31, 2010 at 5:07 am | Report abuse |
  7. Air Evacuation

    RMSI is a world leader when it comes to medical air evacuation. The short term for this is Medevac (Medical and Evacuation brought together). Some however call it Medivac, which should be the same two words brought mutually, however with Medi and Vac from evacuation. However the last term is less correct, as it does not take the first letter from Evacuation.http://www.rmsi-medevac.com/html/services.html

    September 7, 2010 at 12:48 am | Report abuse |
  8. mayaprophetx

    I'm new here, but I'm really into this sort of thing, and I like to help people understand what is truly going on,l and how you can prepare for it.

    I came across this site last week, and I think you could all benefit from it.

    http://i.imgur.com/iWTRi.gif

    Anyway, mods, if this in in the wrong section, please move it, or, if you must, delete it. I think that this info needs to be out there though.

    I hope some of you find this helpful. Good luck, and god bless you

    2012 Survival

    August 24, 2011 at 6:57 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Fae Kroesing

    I love to visit train stations, specially the older train stations. It really gives me some sort of Nostalgia during the old days.',*".

    Till next time
    http://www.caramoantourpackage.com">

    July 24, 2012 at 11:52 pm | Report abuse |
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