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Worker dies after D.C. metro tunnel welding accident

A workman died and two Washington D.C. transit employees were injured in a welding accident in a Red Line tunnel early Sunday, officials said.

The contractor was providing welding services in the tunnel between Union Station and Judiciary Square stations when the incident occurred shortly after midnight, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority said in a statement.

The welding may have ignited hydraulic fluid nearby, according to Metro spokeswoman Caroline Lukas, who said the incident was still being investigated. 

The worker was taken to a local hospital where transported by EMS to a local hospital where he died of his injuries, the statement said.

Two transit authority employees also were transported to local hospitals and are being treated for injuries that are serious but considered non-life-threatening.

An investigation has begun, and the Tri-state Oversight Committee (TOC) and National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) have been notified, WMATA said,

"Our first order of business after attending to the injured is to prevent anyone else from being hurt," Chief Safety Officer James Dougherty said in the statement. "We also need to ensure we have the safest possible working conditions going forward, which means learning lessons from the investigation into this accident."

Free shuttle buses will continue to operate between Dupont Circle and NoMa-Gallaudet stations until rail service is restored, WMATA said. Normal service will resume before the Monday morning commute.