Rome train station fire thwarts travel

AP News
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Posted: Jul 24, 2011 9:35 AM
Rome train station fire thwarts travel

A blaze at one of Rome's railway stations Sunday forced cancellation or long delays for trains along the nation's major north-south routes passing through the capital.

Fire officials and the state railways said the blaze began before dawn Sunday in a machine room in Tiburtina station, on the eastern end of the capital. By afternoon, firefighters were still hosing down flames and thick smoke, although Mayor Gianni Alemanno said the blaze was under control.

No injuries were reported.

Fire and railway officials said the cause of the blaze could not yet be determined since efforts to extinguish it are still being carried out.

Only two rail lines passing through the station are open, state railways said. Neither of those lines include the high-speed trains running between Milan and Rome or Naples which pass through the station but don't stop there en route to the capital's main rail hub, Termini Station.

The main stations in Milan and Rome posted delays of at least several hours for the long-distance trains that were still running. At least one high-speed train that left Milan made it only as far south as Florence, where passengers were told the train would not continue to Rome.

Trains departing from Rome's Termini station and headed toward Naples and other points south were running because those routes don't pass through Tiburtina.

One of Rome's subway lines runs under the station. While not caught up in the blaze itself, smoke entered the subway tunnel at Tiburtina, forcing closure of that metro stop until Monday, the mayor said.

Alemanno, speaking to reporters at the fire scene, urged those who live near Tiburtina to keep their windows closed as thick, dark smoke continued to billow out of the station.