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Eurotunnel remains hopeful of partial re-opening

 Eurotunnel remains hopeful of partial re-opening
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Eurotunnel passengers are enduring an uncomfortable wait in the hope that it might, at least partially, re-open today after yesterday’s fire.

The company has now said services might resume in the shaft that was not affected by the blaze, but that cannot be confirmed until safety inspections have been completed.

Hundreds of people were stranded after the fire forced the closure of the tunnel. With the uncertainty continuing, Eurotunnel has urged customers not to turn up at its terminals. On the British side passengers have been transferred to ferry ports to make the Channel crossing.

The fire broke out on a lorry on a freight train yesterday afternoon near the French entrance to the 50 kilometre tunnel. It spread to other trucks, including one transporting phenol, a flammable acid.

Nobody was seriously injured, but a small number were treated for cuts and smoke inhalation.

Some 30 people were evacuated through a service tunnel. One group of lorry drivers had to smash windows to escape when they could not open the doors of their compartment.

The Channel tunnel was extensively damaged by a fire in 1996. It remained closed for freight for seven months.