Sep 11, 2017
Tokyo commuter train catches fire, 300 passengers evacuate on tracks
TOKYO - A commuter train caught fire Sunday afternoon in Tokyo after being stopped next to a building along the tracks that was ablaze, forcing some 300 passengers to evacuate.
A commuter train caught fire Sunday afternoon in Tokyo after being stopped next to a building along the tracks that was ablaze, forcing some 300 passengers to evacuate.
No one was hurt in the incident that occurred on the Odakyu Line operated by Odakyu Electric Railway Co. between Sangubashi and Yoyogi-hachiman stations, but about 71,000 people were affected by subsequent delays.
Some passengers said they were unaware that the train had caught fire until they came out of the cars. "I was scared. It was good that I was able to evacuate," a passenger said.
"The car was filled with smoke and I felt it was getting hot," said Katsumi Tokuyama, a 39-year-old Tokyo resident who was on board the train. "When I saw the footage later I was surprised that the blaze was much more intense than I had thought," he added.
Riko Kinefuchi, a 16-year-old high school student, saw a burning building on her left side when the train stopped. She was on board the third car and eventually smelled smoke.
It took about 30 minutes to complete the evacuation after the emergency stop. But many passengers were calm and walked to a crossing without major chaos, according to Kinefuchi.
A police officer had pressed an emergency button at a crossing at the direction of firefighters tackling the burning three-story building in Tokyo's Shibuya Ward, but that meant the train was automatically brought to a halt opposite it.
The roof of the train, a local service inbound to Shinjuku Station, caught fire at around 4:05 p.m. Sunday, producing black smoke.
The driver started to move the train to ensure safety but halted it again after running some 120 meters after being notified by firefighters about the fire on the roof.
The passengers were guided by train crew to leave the train from the front and rear cars, police and the train operator said.
About 25 fire engines were dispatched to attend the building fire and blaze on the roof of the second carriage of the eight-car train. The fires were put out about one hour and 45 minutes later.
On Monday, the police inspected the fire site to find the cause of the blaze. They are hearing from people associated with a boxing gym in the building in a residential area.
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