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Subway station fire sparks panic in Beijing
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A garbage bin caught fire in a Beijing Metro station yesterday afternoon, causing panic among passengers for a short time, but no injuries were reported, a Beijing-based newspaper said today.

According to an employee at the station, the fire may have been caused by a lit cigarette butt in the garbage bin, the newspaper Beijing News said.

An investigation was ongoing, the report added.

The fire began in a garbage bin at Dongdan Road Station on Metro Line 1 at 1:40pm. Heavy smoke soon engulfed the Dongdan Road exit, the report said.

Many passengers fled in a panic after seeing the flames, the report said, citing a witness surnamed Wang.

Metro workers rushed to the garbage bin with extinguishers and put the flames out in less than 5 minutes.

The fire caused some subway delays on Line 1, the report added.

Police have redoubled efforts to improve security in the city's five subway lines. Police dogs, safety doors and security scanners have been or will be introduced this month.

Meanwhile, police reiterated that people may be detained for between five and 15 days if they bring any combustible item on to public transport, a director of the General Team of Traffic Police told the newspaper in a previous report.

(Shanghai Daily June 3, 2008)

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