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A photo of a burned out van on the train that caught fire in a tunnel near Fritzens, Austria, on June 7. Photo by FF Fritzens.
09 Jun 2023

150 train passengers evacuated from fire in railway tunnel in Austria: 400 firefighters involved in the rescue

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Austrian fire magazine Fireworld.at reports on a tunnel fire on June 7th which required a rescue mission with staff from 20 different fire brigades. 

FRITZENS (TIROL):

On June 7, 2023 near Fritzens in the Innsbruck-Land district, there was a large-scale operation by the emergency services, inolvoving  20 fire brigades. 151 passengers were evacuated from the tunnel. On the evening of June 7th, 370 people were  considered for evacuation

ORF Tirol reported on the evening of June 7, 2023 that the night train was on its way to Hamburg or Amsterdam. As of June 8, 2023, 151 passengers were on the train. The underlying reports indicated  that an overhead powerline for the train broke in the Terfen tunnel and fell onto the cars being transported on the wagons. A fire broke out in a vehicle on one of the rail cars.. According to a witness in the ORF report, after several cracking noises being heard, smoke developed.

 

Read the original article in German on Fireworld.at

 

The full article (follow link above) displays amazing photos from the incident by Christopher Waldner.

The tunnel section was initially very smoky. Fire brigade  teams in full protective gear worked their way from the emergency entrances on both sides and met in the middle. 

At 10:20 p.m., Fireworld.at in Tyrol was informed that the fire had already been extinguished, but that the train had to be completely evacuated. The passengers were taken outside, where tents have already been set up. The ÖBB has also already organized buses for the  transport of passengers. 

 

Only 33 people experienced slight smoke inhalation

The incident ended relatively well, compared to the potential outcome, according to information from the ORF: 33 people suffered slight smoke inhalation shortly before midnight. Passengers were successfully evacuated from the smoke-filled tunnel using escape hoods before the tunnel was subsequently ventilated.

 

Short report from the  fire brigade association in Tyrol:

Yesterday, more than 400 fire brigade members from 20 fire brigades were deployed to deal with a fire in the Unterinntal railway tunnel near Fritzens. A fire broke out on a car transport wagon that was being carried on an ÖBB night train, which prevented the train from continuing its journey. The emergency services were deployed according to the special alarm plan provided for such scenarios .

The fire brigade teams first gained access to the tunnel wearing long-term breathing apparatus (SSG) and heavy respiratory protection and explored the situation in the very smoky tunnel. They managed to get to the train, determine the condition of the people inside, fight the fire and then remove the dense smoke from the fire far enough away from the deployment area so that the people could be safely evacuated through fire escape hatches.

Due to the excellent cooperation between the fire brigade, the rescue service, the police, the official operations management, the Tyrol control center, the railway operator ÖBB and the train crew, all 151 people on the train were saved safely, looked after on site by the rescue service and then taken to Innsbruck , where accommodation was organized. 33 people had to be taken to nearby hospitals with minor injuries for further clarification.

A total of around 700 emergency services were on site. After the final check by the fire brigade, the site was handed over to the ÖBB and the LKA for determining the cause of the fire and further measures in the tunnel. Due to the large-scale deployment of the fire brigades in the Wattens and Schwaz area, fire brigades from surrounding sections were also relocated to this area in order to cover them as quickly as possible in the event of any parallel events.

"Thank you very much to everyone who worked together so well last night and thus contributed to the fact that this challenging event ultimately went smoothly," concluded LFV Tirol.

More information at http://magazin.ooelfv.at