Firefighters battle blaze in Haifa Carmelit subway

Police shut roads in the area; reports say several train carriages on fire in the underground that was closed for shabbat

The Carmelit subway in Haifa seen on June 21, 2011. (Yaakov Naumi/Flash90)
The Carmelit subway in Haifa seen on June 21, 2011. (Yaakov Naumi/Flash90)

Firefighters were trying to battle a blaze in Haifa’s Carmelit underground system on Saturday, with heavy black smoke billowing out of several of its stations.

Reports said the fire started at the Paris Square station, where at least two carriages had gone up in flames. Thirteen firefighting teams were tackling the fire.

Police blocked off all the roads leading to the subway system and the electricity company said it had turned off the power in several adjacent neighborhoods at the request of the firefighters.

One woman was reported lightly injured from smoke inhalation.

The Carmelit, the only underground train service in Israel, was shut on Shabbat, but rescue workers were trying to establish if anyone could be inside the tunnel, Israel Radio reported.

There was no immediate information on what started the fire.

Opened in 1959, the service runs up the Carmel Mountain. It is one of the shortest underground transport systems, running in a single 1.8 kilometer (1.1 mile) tunnel, with six stops.

It has been closed several times since its opening to allow for extensive repairs and renovations.

Haifa has been hit by a series of fires in recent months. More than 600 homes were destroyed in the devastating wildfires that ravaged Israel in late November, and there was also a major fire in the Haifa oil refinery last month.

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