Thursday, September 11, 2008

30 evacuated from channel tunnel fire

At least 30 people have been evacuated from the Eurotunnel following a fire. According to Sky News the fire broke out on board a lorry being transported by a shuttle service. No deaths have been reported but a French spokesman from the Ministry of Interior told the AFP, "Some people may have been poisoned". According to French news reports one of the lorries involved in the blaze was carrying Phenol, a toxic chemical. Widespread disruption is expected as the vital transportation link shuts down and already Kent Police have put Operation Stack into practice. This is usually initiated during ferry strikes and involves the parking of hundreds of lorries on the motorway towards the Folkestone tunnel terminal. The incident struck the north bound tunnel some 11 km from the French coast shortly before 15:00 BST [14:00 GMT / 16:00 CET]. SNCF, the French rail operator, has said all rail traffic will be halted until Friday [France 2 / CNN / Sky News / BBC]. In 1996 a serious fire closed the tunnel for several months [wikipedia].

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