Seattle's Monorail Out of Service Indefinitely After Fire

SEATTLE (AP) -- Seattle's landmark monorail remained out of service Tuesday as engineers tried to determine the cause of a fire that trapped as many as 100 people during a Seattle Center festival.

Dozens of passengers were evacuated by ladder but no one was seriously injured when the fire broke out on the monorail's Blue Train near the Experience Music Project Monday evening, filling the train with smoke.

Emergency workers evaluated about 40 people for respiratory problems. Nine, including a firefighter with an injured knee, were treated and released from Harborview Medical Center, Fire Department spokeswoman Helen Fitzgerald said.

The fire, traced to a short in wiring to the electrical motor, was under control by Monday evening. The damaged train was brought back to a station at the Seattle Center.

Monorail spokesman Perry Cooper said he did not know the extent of damage on the Blue Train. Officials put no timetable on either train's return to service.

``We want to make sure we know what happened to the Blue Train before we put the Red Train back out,'' Cooper said.

The two trains run on a mile-long stretch of parallel overhead tracks between the Seattle Center, site of the 1962 World's Fair, and Westlake Center in the downtown retail core.

Holly Schwartzmann, 15, of Tampa, Fla., riding in the rear car, told The Seattle Times she heard a pop and saw a spark that appeared to be coming up from the floor near the window.

Some passengers screamed and others remained calm as they moved to the front of the train to escape thick, billowing smoke.

``It really didn't take the Fire Department that long to show up,'' said Marlene Schwartzmann, Holly's mother. ``But as the inside of the monorail turned pitch black, it began feeling like an eternity.''

Some made their way down a quickly deployed firefighter's ladder and others moved onto the Red Train, which was brought alongside the Blue Train.

Had those aboard become desperate, ``the outcome could have been very different,'' Fitzpatrick said. ``No one jumped, which is a good thing.''

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