Last month had the most stark increase of all: There were more than 45 smoke or fire incidents recorded in June. That’s more than twice the number of similar incidents recorded on the system in June 2015.
And that’s an average of more than one episode of smoke and fire on the system per day.
The numbers may not come as a shock to commuters frustrated with perpetual delays on the system due to smoke-related disruptions. The problem has become so familiar to riders, there’s now a website — IsMetroOnFire.com — that exists solely to offer updates on when Metro is, in fact, on fire.
Some of this sharp increase may be the result of a change in reporting standards: With a new general manager in town, there could be an added focus on keeping accurate data on when and where smoke and fire incidents occur. In that case, the steady rise in numbers may be partially a reflection of more rigorous reporting. (We’ve asked Metro officials about this theory, and will update if they weigh in.)
Even so, these aren’t exactly the numbers that instill confidence in the subway system.