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Tuesday, June 01, 2004 - Page updated at 10:00 A.M.

Fire hits monorail at Seattle Center

By The Associated Press

A fire this afternoon forced the evacuation of a monorail train near the Experience Music Project.
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SEATTLE — Fire struck one of Seattle's monorail trains outside the Experience Music Project at the Seattle Center this afternoon.

Firefighters used ladders to evacuate dozens of passengers from the "Blue Train," one of two trains in the monorail system.

About 40 people were evaluated at the scene for respiratory problems from the smoke, Seattle Fire Department spokeswoman Helen Fitzgerald said.

Nine people, including a firefighter who injured a knee, were taken to Harborview Medical Center, but none of the injuries was considered serious, and none appeared to be burns, she said.

Fire officials said the fire was brought under control Monday evening. Streets were closed in the area.

About 100 people were on the train at the time of the fire, the cause of which was under investigation, Fitzgerald said.

The fire occurred as thousands of people gathered at the Seattle Center for the annual Folklife Festival on the holiday weekend.

The Experience Music Project is a rock 'n' roll museum known for its unusual design as well as its collection of music artifacts.

The monorail, which includes both the "Blue Train" and a "Red Train," runs through the museum on its pathway between the Seattle Center and downtown Seattle.

Both trains will be out of service for an undetermined amount of time.

The monorail was originally built for the 1962 World's Fair in Seattle.

There have been several incidents over the years when the fire department's high-angle rescue team has been called out to remove passengers when a train broke down.

Copyright © 2004 The Seattle Times Company

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