Jack Requa, Metro’s interim general manager, left, and Rob Troup, Metro’s deputy general manager, right, address a press following a Metro board meeting on Jan. 22. (Amanda Voisard/For the Washington Post)

Metro and local emergency responders are proposing to collaborate for the first time in testing radio equipment at Metro stations and tunnels, officials said Monday, following communication problems during several incidents.

The proposal to devise joint testing was described in a letter to Sen. Mark R. Warner after the Virginia Democrat asked Metro and the Washington Council of Governments about communication breakdowns during the Jan. 12 incident near the L’Enfant Plaza station that killed one person and injured 86 others.

Federal investigators are reviewing the cause and the response to the smoke that filled a tunnel near the L’Enfant Plaza station, where a train had become disabled. Their early inspection found “severe electrical arcing damage” to the rail and cables inside the tunnel.

Metro is collecting information on radio testing being conducted throughout the system to present to a committee of fire chiefs that works with the regional government council, said Metro spokesman Dan Stessel. A meeting of that committee is set for this month, according to the letter to Warner.

“We would like to see this meeting happen as soon as possible,” Stessel said.

Stessel also said Monday that Metro has resolved radio problems that affected coverage in parts of the Wheaton Station on the Red Line. Montgomery County Fire and Rescue had flagged the issue to Metro Friday afternoon after its crews ran a routine test, according to a fire department e-mail.

The problem involved a connector on a cable that carries signals from aboveground to the underground station.

The problem at Wheaton was the only one found after testing at the county’s 12 Metro stations, Stessel said. While a repair was pending, firefighters were reminded to communicate using a radio-relay system that positions them within sight of each other at key points between the tunnel and surface.

Signal-relaying equipment is built into the subway and maintained by Metro. But regularly troubleshooting communication problems falls on Metro and each local jurisdiction.

Although Metro and local jurisdictions test radio communications within the system, they do so independently of each other.

Warner said he sees “a real challenge” more than a decade after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and massive investments in emergency communications.

“Your system may be working but the handoff — the interoperability — is the place where so many things can go wrong,” Warner said.

Warner said the letter laid out a tentative timeline for making changes, but even the earliest actions would be two months off.

Warner was part of the local congressional delegation given a limited briefing of events about the crisis. An early review found that District firefighters in the L’Enfant Plaza tunnel had trouble communicating with commanders aboveground. Since then, Metro and the D.C. Fire Department have largely blamed each other for the communications problem.

Their dispute centers on whether the District made technical changes to the way its radios work, when those changes were made, and what it told Metro about those changes in order for the rail system to make equipment adjustments in response.

An e-mail released by the District as part of its review of the incident shows that firefighters flagged a radio problem to Metro in an e-mail on Jan. 8, four days before the incident at L’Enfant Plaza.

Metro officials said crews worked through that weekend trying to pinpoint a problem on its side, and when it couldn’t find any arranged for a Jan. 14 meeting with the District for additional checks, two days after the L’Enfant Plaza incident occurred.

Metro and D.C. emergency officials say the communication problems have been fixed.