A crisis on Metro's Green line left hundreds of passengers stranded on two trains during Wednesday evening's rush hour.
Frustrated riders took matters into their own hands as firefighters responded to a call about smoke in the tunnel, and walked out of the tunnel on their own steam, with no direction from Metro.
Around 5 p.m., Metro summoned firefighters to check out what spokesman Dan Stessel called an arcing insulator problem that generated smoke on the third rail.
He says an emergency responder may have mistakenly zapped electricity to two trains.
The lights and air conditioning went out. Passengers panicked. One passenger, Nigel Charles, tells FOX 5 he hit the emergency exit button that opened train doors and discovered it was only a short walk through the tunnel to exit at the Anacostia station.
Bus shuttle service was provided between Navy Yard-Ballpark and Southern Avenue stations, but Metro customers complained there were not enough buses.
Metro is holding a debriefing Thursday morning and has invited fire department officials in the hopes of avoiding anything similar in the future.
Stessel says Metro apologizes for the inconvenience.