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Fire Prompts Subway Evacuations; 20 Treated

A smoky fire in a downtown subway tunnel Thursday night forced the removal of passengers from trains and the shutdown of several lines.

Twenty people suffered minor smoke inhalation because of the fire, which started after 10 p.m. just north of the Downtown Crossing station in a Red Line tunnel near a congested area where several train lines intersect underground, authorities said.

While the fire was contained to that tunnel, smoke spread into several nearby stations and platforms, said Joe Pesaturo, spokesman for the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority.

"The fire is out but the smoke was heavy, it was thick," he said.

As a precaution, the MBTA shut off power to the Orange and Green lines in the area. Silver Line buses near South Station were kept above ground.

Witnesses reported a heavy smell of an electrical fire.

Pesaturo could not say if the heavily traveled train lines would be reopened in time for the Friday morning commute.

"We have crews standing by that will jump into the tunnel," he said. "They will assess the damage and start making repairs as soon as possible."

This program aired on April 29, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.

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