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Cape Town - Passengers on a Metrorail train jumped to safety after a fire tore through a carriage at Woodstock station on Tuesday afternoon during peak hour.
The fire gutted four carriages and at least three people had to be treated for smoke inhalation.
Metrorail said the fire on the train, which serves the Khayelitsha, Mitchells Plain and Monte Vista areas, began as it drew into the station en route from Heathfield at 4pm.
Carriages were immediately evacuated.
One passenger said she wasn’t really sure what had happened.
“I just got off and I saw it was on fire,” she said.
A witness said they saw passengers jumping from the train.
A large plume of black smoke billowed above Woodstock’s rooftops as emergency services rushed to the scene to douse the flames and tend to those who had been injured.
Ambulances took three people to hospital, with one woman having to be taken away on a stretcher.
City Fire and Rescue Services spokesman Theo Layne said the three suffered from smoke inhalation, but it was not clear if they had actually been on the train.
“It is an enclosed area and there was a lot of smoke. They could have been on the platform,” he said.
The flames were finally doused just after 5pm.
The four smouldering carriages were left completely gutted by the fire, with seats, railings and even the exterior blackened and damaged in the blaze.
The fire caused delays across all the lines as traffic operating past Woodstock station was suspended for an hour while the electricity was switched off as a safety precaution.
The train services to Simon’s Town and Bellville were resumed shortly after the fire had been contained.
Metrorail said that resumption of full services would be completed throughout the evening.
Metrorail regional manager Mthuthuzeli Swartz said he was shocked at the incident.
“We sincerely regret that people were injured as a result of this,” he said.
At the time of going to print, Swartz said the cause of the fire was still unknown, but confirmed that an investigation was already under way.
In October, a train carriage at Brackenfell station was destroyed by a fire. The blaze was caused by an electrical fault on the overhead power supply.