Moscow subway fire causes mass evacuation

People leave a subway station in downtown Moscow. Picture: AP
People leave a subway station in downtown Moscow. Picture: AP
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A rush-hour fire in Moscow’s underground railway injured dozens of people, forced the evacuation of thousands of commuters and closed parts of the network today.

The fire started after a power cable caught fire in a tunnel leading to the Okhotny Ryad station near Red Square.

More than 45 people sought medical help and seven were admitted to hospital. Most of them suffered from smoke inhalation.

As firefighters were putting out the fire, authorities closed one of the subway lines that cuts through central Moscow. Witnesses said central Moscow streets were thronged with crowds who ended up walking to work.

The subway is an essential transport link, serving up to seven million people a day.

Station or line closures are highly unusual for the network, which has the reputation of being the city’s most reliable means of transport.