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Last Updated: Sunday, 5 June, 2005, 02:58 GMT 03:58 UK
Two killed by Alpine tunnel fire
Frejus tunnel
The tunnel has been closed indefinitely
Two people have died in a fire that broke out in a road tunnel between Italy and France on Saturday evening.

Several vehicles were burnt in the Frejus Tunnel fire believed to have started in a lorry carrying tyres.

At least 17 people were treated for smoke inhalation, including six firefighters.

The 13km (eight-mile) tunnel, which carried 2m vehicles every year, has now been closed indefinitely, amid fears that some sections could collapse.

Both the dead were lorry drivers from Slovakia.

As rescue workers continue to search the tunnel, there are fears that more bodies could be found.

Tyre fire

The Frejus tunnel - one of the main transport arteries across the Alps, linking Lyon and Turin - was closed at 1845 (1645 GMT), French police said.
Rescuers at Frejus Tunnel
Rescuers were among those treated for smoke inhalation

The fire broke out when the truck carrying tyres caught fire in the French end of the tunnel, about 1km from the border, about 45 minutes earlier, police said.

The fire is the latest to break out in one of Europe's Alpine road tunnels in recent years.

The worst was in 1999, when an inferno raged in the nearby Mont Blanc tunnel for two days, reaching temperatures of 1,000C (1,800F) and killing at least 39 people.

See the scene at the tunnel entrance

Mont Blanc tunnel reopens
09 Mar 02 |  Europe

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