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Explosion Shuts Down Montreal Subway

April 15, 2000

MONTREAL (AP) _ Several thousand people were forced from the city’s subway system Saturday after a series of small explosions shut down the entire underground line. No injuries were reported.

The blasts Saturday morning in mid-Montreal knocked out the transit system’s communications board and killed contact with subway train drivers, closing down all 65 of the city’s subway stations. Limited subway service was restored by mid-afternoon.

Hundreds of thousands of people ride the subway on Saturdays, transit spokeswoman Odile Paradis said.

More than 100 people were temporarily evacuated from their homes as authorities checked to see if yellow smoke billowing out of two manholes was toxic. Power was also knocked out to several thousand homes, and about 200 homes were still without electricity by nightfall.

There were no problems getting the thousands of passengers off the trains and out of the subway stations, Paradis said, and the city put an extra 100 buses on the streets to deal with the stranded passengers.

The 7:45 a.m. explosion at Laurier station may have been caused by an underground cable that was already damaged due a recent house fire in the area, said Yves Boucher, a city spokesman. But one fire official said a power surge might have been to blame.

Regular service was expected by Monday, at the latest, Paradis said.

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