Fire Severely Damages Haifa Subway Station

Underground rail was closed when blaze erupted.

Noa Shpigel
Noa Shpigel
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Damage after a blaze at the Haifa underground railway, February 4, 2017.
Damage after a blaze at the Haifa underground railway, February 4, 2017.Credit: Abdullah Shama
Noa Shpigel
Noa Shpigel

A fire broke out on Saturday in the Paris Square station of the Carmelit subway in Haifa, which was closed at the time. Firefighters said three cars of the underground funicular railway went up in flames and the cars and subway tunnel were severely damaged. One woman was lightly injured from smoke inhalation. Investigators have not yet determined the cause of the fire.

Smoke poured out of a number of the stations of the Carmelit, which does not run on the Jewish Sabbath, and 13 firefighting crews were called in to fight the fire and air out the tunnel. A number of roads were closed to traffic during the incident, and all have been reopened except for a section of Hanasi Boulevard on Mount Carmel. Electricity was cut off in parts of the city but service was restored.

Residents reported heavy smoke in the Central Carmel area, and a woman of about 70 was lightly injured from smoke inhalation and evacuated to the hospital.

The Carmelit, which runs up and down Mount Carmel, is Israel’s only underground public transportation system, at least until the Tel Aviv light rail system is completed. It was launched in 1959 and was in service until 1986, when it was shut down because of obsolescence. It was reopened only in 1992 after a massive renovation. The subway has only six stations, starting at the bottom near the Haifa port and ending on the top of Mount Carmel.