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.

Filed under: Uncategorized
soundoff (96 Responses)
  1. Thomas

    Terrorism: It's not just for airlines anymore. Good looking out, D.C. Awareness is part of stopping bad things from happening!

    May 30, 2010 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • SMC

      Not every funky odor is a terrorist attack! The article clearly states that it was coming from a supplies closet: Batteries, access to plumbing and wires, Bleach cleaner, Ammonia Cleaner, maybe even a gas can or two. If any of those things spilled and mixed or a battery leaked and the acid ate through something, or there was a leaky gas pipe, it would cause these smells and a potentially dangerous situation. Read the article before jumping to conclusions.

      May 30, 2010 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dfresh

      Yeah Thomas read a little better...

      May 30, 2010 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Biotech98

      Thomas can read alright. It's just we need to find terrorism where ever we can get it. Don't forget alert level today is orange. Eh, just raised to red due to historic importance.

      May 30, 2010 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Milennium

      Its OK Thomas. They focus on you rather than the possible issue.

      May 30, 2010 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Peter


      Seriously, You are the problem. You are your fear mongering.

      May 30, 2010 at 6:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Liam

      Let's be aware, but not paranoid. If in doubt it's best to report it just on the off chance that it might be something dangerous (terrorist related or not).

      May 30, 2010 at 6:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jigar

      Terrorists always win when we fear and change our way of life. Apparently even when its clorox and batteries mixing up in the storage room.

      May 30, 2010 at 6:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rose

      You guys have no concept,do you honestly think you hear all there is to know?They don't want to start a mass panic everytime something happens.I wonder how many people blew off tell tell signs before 911?People forget too fast and get complacent.You laugh at people,because you want to pretend we're all safe and nothing will happen again.You better read what the govt is telling us,we need to be vigilant and watch out for any signs of terrorism.You are the ones who are ignorant if you make fun of someone who is watching out.

      May 30, 2010 at 7:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Karl

      That's right, Thomas! Remember – in an election year, terrorists are everywhere!

      May 30, 2010 at 8:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mario


      May 30, 2010 at 9:24 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Wow

    Wow, seriously?

    May 30, 2010 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Lt.Col. Osama

    Hmmm.. good job. keep it up!

    May 30, 2010 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Wig Boo

    Oh great, a bottle of Clorox bleach tips over and everyone got to make a big deal out of it. People taking this terrorist nonsense WAY too seriously.


    May 30, 2010 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      Yea, and ignorant people like you are the ones who complain if something happens. Saying, "Why wasn't anything done?" Big Deal they evacuated a train station for a couple hours.

      May 30, 2010 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mighty Max

      You are one of those folks that are always right. If nobody had responded and something had happened you would be the first to be critical of those in charge. YOU ARE TOO COOL.

      May 30, 2010 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      Are you dumb? You just restated what I said. Think before you say something, and if it sounds stupid don't waste everyones time by putting it on the internet. Thanks.

      May 30, 2010 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • No

      Bleach would cause a chlorine stink, not a sulfur one. L2Chemistry

      May 30, 2010 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alb390

      Better evacuate and be safe then ignore it, think "meh its just probably some bleach" and have thousands of casualties.

      May 30, 2010 at 5:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Your_blanket

      I kind of agree but at the same time rather be paranoid then stabbed in the back, at least I believe so. Can't be too caucious these days

      May 30, 2010 at 6:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Derka

      Even a tipped bottle of clorox can be deadly if it mixes with ammonia. A chemical odor can mean something harmless or something toxic. A safe response is always best.

      May 30, 2010 at 7:15 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Job

    The whole idea behind terrorism is that it strikes TERROR into the hearts of the affected populous at every turn. The smell emits, the people freak out, the terrorists win. Congratulations terrorists! You have accomplished your goal.

    May 30, 2010 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • jack

      Yup – that's pretty much how it goes. Suck it America.

      May 30, 2010 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Zolicon

      They do not put fear into Me.They only win when we surrender to their scare taticts.

      May 30, 2010 at 4:44 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Sahri

    Where are people getting terrorism from? The article didn't say anything about that. People get evacuated when hazardous chemicals spill because the gasses and fumes could cause death or mix with other chemicals. It also said it could be a gas pipe. Carbon Monoxide poisoning anyone?

    May 30, 2010 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      carbon monoxide doesn't have a smell... nice try killer.

      May 30, 2010 at 8:58 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Jeremy

    I think people aren't stopping to think before they comment on here. I'm fairly certain they'd evacuate the area even if they KNEW it wasn't a terrorist attack. It doesn't HAVE to be a potential ATTACK to be dangerous... I'm sure they ARE evacuating with the mindset that it MIGHT be a terrorist attack, but fairly certain that any building anywhere in the world would be smart and evacuate people if a potentially dangerous chemical smell was detected. Just because someone accidentally spilled two chemicals together doesn't make it any less dangerous...

    May 30, 2010 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Joe

    Good precaution. But a terrorist attack is not a terror act unless it happens. A thief is not a thief unless he get caught stealing. 9/11 wouldn't have happened unless the terrorist made it happened. I don't believe too much in foiling an attack, and we being foiling too many lately. If a terrorist wants to blow up something here, he would do it.

    May 30, 2010 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • isabella

      so I guess if they are going to do it anyway, just let them blow up whatever they want? some logic.

      May 30, 2010 at 5:39 pm | Report abuse |
  9. The Dude

    Probably some TEABAGGING REPUBLICAN blowing all that SACK CHEESE out his nose. I bet that smells real nasty!

    May 30, 2010 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lrn2Communicate

      Intelligent response. You must have been a contributing source to the story. Well done. Idiot.

      May 30, 2010 at 7:43 pm | Report abuse |
  10. alan

    working at a museum in a tourist city, i have had to evacuate my buillding on numerous occasions for an "odd smell". not because of terrorists, because of public health and safety. Carbon Monoxide is a silent, odorless killer, and so are any number of combinations of chemicals one might find in a maintenance room. Not to mention if any of that stuff was flammable. any spark or even a light bulb coming on could ignite vapors in the air. Last time i saw a subway (long time ago mind you), i saw sparks. if you were in the station, i'm sure the evacuation was quite inconvenient, but otherwise count your lucky stars it wasn't a loose gas pipe fitting, or you might have ended up flying to your destination.

    May 30, 2010 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • DAWN B


      May 30, 2010 at 5:46 pm | Report abuse |
  11. ahuman

    Batteries have nasty chemicals and enough lieakng bleach can be toxis as well.

    May 30, 2010 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
  12. whatnext

    I'm starting a pool to bet on which station gets evacuated NEXT week.

    May 30, 2010 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
  13. will we breathe

    The sad part here is WHY we reacted as we did. The world has gotten increasingly complex, and there's too many moving parts to believe that it's not going to break down soon.

    May 30, 2010 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
  14. timothy Bacher

    this is insane. a chemical smell from a chemical closet? now everything that is out of place is a terrorist attack.

    May 30, 2010 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Zolicon

      Have We become that Terrorified?

      May 30, 2010 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
  15. The Dude

    Maybe Rush "The Leader of the Republican Party" Limbaugh took a GIANT SH1T on the floor of the station! Maybe John Boener was TEABAGGING Rand Paul and blew all his NUTT out his nose......I bet that smells pretty bad too. Maybe Sarah Palin forgot to DOOSH!.....These things happen you know.....oh yes they do!!

    May 30, 2010 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
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