-- Residents of Washington, D.C. should brace for a longer commute tomorrow morning.
The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority is shutting down the entire D.C. metro system for at least 24 hours starting at midnight tonight for safety checks of electric cables, according to an announcement from Metro General Manager and CEO Paul J. Wiedefeld.
The system should be back up Thursday morning, but officials warned it could take longer.
"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," Wiedefeld said.
Early Monday morning, passengers relying on the Silver, Blue and Orange lines suffered major delays after a fire started in the tunnel near the McPherson Square station.
“The investigation into yesterday’s cable fire at McPherson Square is ongoing," Wiedefeld said. “As a preliminary matter, the conditions appear disturbingly similar to those in the L’Enfant incident of a year ago, and our focus is squarely on mitigating any risk of a fire elsewhere on the system.”
In January of 2015, one Metro rider died after a Yellow Line train was engulfed in smoke outside the L’Enfant Plaza station.
On average, the D.C. metro system sees more than 700,000 boardings each weekday.