Haifa subway fire likely caused by technical malfunction
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Haifa subway fire likely caused by technical malfunction

Authorities estimate damage from tunnel blaze in Israel’s only underground could run to tens of millions of shekels

Firefighters attend the scene of a fire in the Carmelit underground train Haifa, Northern Israel. February 04, 2017. (Photo by Basel Awidat/FLASH90)
Firefighters attend the scene of a fire in the Carmelit underground train Haifa, Northern Israel. February 04, 2017. (Photo by Basel Awidat/FLASH90)

A fire in Haifa’s subway was likely caused by a technical or electrical malfunction, authorities said Saturday evening, hours after the blaze was brought under control.

The Carmelit underground train — Israel’s sole subterranean transit system — suffered damage estimated at tens of millions of shekels after fire broke out in its tunnels, city officials told Channel 2 news.

The subway was closed when fire broke out, due to Shabbat. Firefighters said that the blaze could have ended in disaster had it broken out on a weekday, Channel 2 reported.

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

Firefighters attend the scene of a fire in the Carmelit underground train in Haifa on February 4, 2017. (Photo by Basel Awidat/FLASH90)
Firefighters attend the scene of a fire in the Carmelit underground train in Haifa on February 4, 2017. (Photo by Basel Awidat/FLASH90)

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

One woman in her 70s was lightly injured from smoke inhalation.

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

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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