Fire out - but tunnel remains shut

EXPERTS fear the Channel Tunnel will remain closed for some time, despite the fire being put out earlier today.The fire was put out after burning for more than 16 hours, French police said today.

EXPERTS fear the Channel Tunnel will remain closed for some time, despite the fire being put out earlier today.

The fire was put out after burning for more than 16 hours, French police said today.

A spokesman for the Calais force said the main seat of the fire was extinguished at 7am today UK time.

Firefighters then spent two hours smothering minor fires nearby, he said.

A total of 300 firefighters - 100 British and 200 French - fought the fire overnight and brought it under control early this morning.

The blaze began on a freight train carrying lorries from Folkestone to Calais.

Most Read

Thirty-two lorry drivers, including seven British nationals, and train staff fled from the blaze down the safety and maintenance tunnel when it broke out just before 3pm yesterday.

Six people suffered smoke inhalation injuries but did not need hospital treatment.

Some lorry drivers were forced to smash windows in the train to escape after doors became jammed shut, reports said.

French authorities confirmed that there was a vehicle containing around 100kg (220lb) of a chemical known as phenol - also known as carbolic acid - close to the site on fire.

But a spokesman for local police said that it did not make the situation any more dangerous and the source of the blaze has not been identified.

The closure caused huge tailbacks on roads near the tunnel entrance as dozens of lorries were forced to park on the M20 and other surrounding roads.

Kent Police said Operation Stack, in which police park freight traffic on the roads, was still in force this morning.

"There is some freight traffic parked on the motorway but not much,'' a spokesman said.

"Motorists are advised to avoid the area.''

Eurostar said it did not expect services to resume today. Around 30,000 passengers were due to travel on 50 Eurostar services going through the tunnel today.

They will be offered a full refund, a spokeswoman said.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter