Metro officials identified the contractor as Harold Ingram, 41.
The accident happened shortly after midnight Sunday in the tunnel about 400 feet from the Union Station platform in the direction of Judiciary Square. There was an explosion and then a fire in the tunnel.
A portion of the Red Line in the downtown core had already been shut down to riders since Friday night so crews could put in new track in the area as part of Metro’s major system rebuilding project.
While track work in that area has been suspended due to the accident, Metro said it would continue to provide free shuttle buses between Dupont Circle and NoMa-Gallaudet stations until rail service is restored. Normal service will resume before the Monday morning commute.
Metro officials said they were conducting an investigation into the cause of the accident and had notified the Tri-State Oversight Committee, which helps in overseeing the transit agency, and the National Transportation Safety Board.
“Our first order of business after attending to the injured is to prevent anyone else from being hurt,” said Chief Safety Officer James Dougherty. “We also need to ensure we have the safest possible working conditions going forward, which means learning lessons from the investigation of this accident.”
Initial reports show leaking hydraulic fluid from an underground vehicle apparently was ignited by welding equipment, causing an explosion and fire. The injured workers were helping install a heavy, roughly 40-foot-long piece of new rail in the closed-off area.
About 100 Metro employees and contractors had been working in the closed-off section on six different projects, using about a dozen heavy pieces of machinery.
Dan Stessel, a Metro spokesman, said Sunday morning that the two Metro employees suffered injuries that were “consistent with making contact with a piece of rail.”
“The primary cause of their injuries was not due to fire,” he said. “They’re not burns.”
Stessel also said “the fire was not the cause of injury or fatality based on what we know right now. How that piece of rail came into contact with the workers is under investigation.”
Workers in the tunnel put out the fire with an extinguisher before D.C. Fire personnel arrived on the scene, according to Metro officials and workers on the scene.
The vehicle that may have been leaking hydraulic fluid belonged to Holland Co. of Crete, Ill., and Metro had a contract with the company for welding services. Heather Stone, a spokesman for Holland Co., said the company does welding services for Metro. She confirmed that the contract worker who was killed in the incident worked for the company and said Holland was sending safety and operational personnel to the scene to investigate. She said she could not confirm initial reports that a piece of equipment that belonged to Holland Co. was leaking hydraulic fluid.