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Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 July, 2003, 08:48 GMT 09:48 UK
Eiffel Tower reopens after fire
The Eiffel tower on fire
The tower used to be the tallest in the world
The Eiffel Tower in Paris has reopened after a small fire near the top forced about 3,000 tourists to evacuate.

The fire broke out on Tuesday evening, sending plumes of smoke pouring from the landmark structure.

The fire is believed to have started among a knot of cables in a telecommunications room off limits to visitors, but on the third floor of the tower which is accessible to tourists.

No-one was injured and the fire was brought under control less than an hour after it started.

The tower's night illuminations went on as usual on Tuesday night, but the distinctive bulb that tops the tower remained dark.

Jean-Bernard Bros, president of the company that operates the tower, told LCI television: "At no moment was the public in danger, at no moment was the Eiffel Tower itself threatened by flames."

The attraction stays open to visitors until midnight in the summer.

Iconic landmark

The fire broke out at 1920 local time (1720 GMT), and was brought under control about 40 minutes later.

The entire tower was immediately evacuated, and helicopters could be seen flying around checking the lower tower floors.

The same portion of the tower caught fire in 1956, destroying the structure's summit.

The 324-metre (1,069-foot) tower, built by Gustave Eiffel for the 1889 World Fair, was at one time the tallest tower in the world.

It remains one of the most popular paying tourist attractions in the world, drawing six million visitors a year.

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