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Entire D.C. Metro subway to shut down for inspections

WASHINGTON - The Metro subway system in Washington, D.C., plans to suspend all rail service for at least 29 hours to perform safety checks after a fire Monday morning that significantly impacted service, CBS affiliate WUSA reported.

The system will shut down at midnight Tuesday and remain closed until at least 5 a.m. Thursday, which is the regularly scheduled opening time.

Around 4:30 a.m. Monday, a fire broke out on the tracks outside the McPherson Square station. The fire was out around two hours later, but Blue and Orange trains single-tracked between Foggy Bottom and Federal Triangle through the evening rush hour.

Metro service operated normally Tuesday morning.

Hundreds of rush-hour passengers were trapped... 01:54

The fire was caused by the same kind of electrical component that malfunctioned last year, causing a train to fill with smoke inside a downtown Washington tunnel. A woman was killed in the incident.

Metro is the nation's second-busiest transit network, serving more than 700,000 riders daily, and a vital link for federal workers and other commuters to Washington from Maryland and Virginia.

Rep. Gerry Connolly, a Virginia Democrat, called on the U.S. Office of Personnel Management to allow federal workers to take unscheduled leave or telecommute on Wednesday, calling the decision to shut down "a gut punch to the hundreds of thousands of commuters who depend on the system."

"While I am extremely frustrated with this news, safety must be our No. 1 priority," Connolly said in a statement. "This dramatic action highlights the need for long-term safety and reliability improvements throughout the system."

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