Channel tunnel fire out, travel chaos remains

CALAIS, France (AP) -- Firefighters have finally extinguished an intense blaze in the train tunnel connecting France and Britain beneath the English Channel.

Officials say crews worked through the night from both ends to put it out. Temperatures are said to have reached more than 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit and firefighters were able to spend no more than 15 minutes at a time inside.

While the exact cause has not been determined, officials appear to be ruling out the possibility of terrorism. France's transportation minister says the fire "resembles something accidental."

The tunnel remains closed and it's unclear when it might reopen. It's actually made up of three tunnels, one running in each direction with a service tunnel for maintenance and emergency access between them. The fire was in the tunnel that runs from England to France, and it could be closed for weeks.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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