Commuters in Washington, D.C., were sent into a panic Tuesday afternoon when the city’s Metro officials announced they would be shutting down the entire subway system today, the New York Post reports. The move was being made to perform emergency inspections of the subway system’s third-rail power cables after a fire broke out Monday near the McPherson Square station.
The system was to remain shut down all day today, with its reopening set for 5 a.m. Thursday at the earliest.
Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld said in announcing the decision: “While the risk to the public is very low, I cannot rule out a potential life safety issue here, and that is why we must take this action immediately. When I say safety is our highest priority, I mean it. That sometimes means making tough, unpopular decisions, and this is one of those times. I fully recognize the hardship this will cause.”