Moscow subway tunnel fire: 4,500 evacuated, 11 hospitalized


People wait on June 5, 2013 for the reopening of the Komsomolskaya metro station on the red line in Moscow. Thousands of commuters were evacuated from the Moscow metro on June 5 after a high-voltage electric cable caught fire, filling station platforms with smoke at the height of the rush hour. The emergencies ministry said around 4,500 people were evacuated after the fire broke out in a tunnel between the Okhotny Ryad and Biblioteka Imeni Lenina (Lenin Library) stations on a red line close to the Kremlin at around 8:20 am (0420 GMT).



Around 4,500 commuters were evacuated from Moscow's subway when a tunnel caught fire during rush hour on Wednesday, sending 11 to the hospital.

The blaze started when a power cable caught fire in the tunnel leading to the Okhotny Ryad station adjacent to Red Square, which is on the subway's oldest Sokolnicheskaya line. It has since been put out.

The Emergencies ministry said nearly 60 people sought medical attention and 11 were hospitalized, with most suffering from smoke inhalation.

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The subway line, which cuts through central Moscow, was closed while firefighters put out the blaze. It resumed regular service by noon Moscow time, but was shut down again about a half an hour later when officials found another smoldering cable in another tunnel next to Okhotny Ryad. Normal service resumed two hours later.

Moscow's subway is Europe's busiest and now carries more than 8 million people a day through 188 stations. The city is planning to invest $55 billion in roads, subway lines and infrastructure to increase the use of public transportation by 45 percent and to ease traffic.

Last year, Moscow announced it planned to sell shares of its subway system in order to gain capital for development through 2025.