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Berlin regional train destroyed in blaze

A German train traveling from Berlin-Lichtenberg to Küstrin-Kietz on the Polish border has been completely burnt out in a fire. All passengers and staff disembarked safely.

According to a police spokesperson, a passenger reported a burning smell to a member of staff shortly after 8 p.m. local time (1900 UTC) on Wednesday. The source of the smell was traced to a switch box which had filled with thick smoke. The fire spread quickly from one carriage through the entire vehicle.

The train, belonging to Niederbarnimer Eisenbahn Inc., continued for two stations in the Hellersdorf district, before all of the train's estimated 180 passengers were brought to safety. Fire services extinguished the blaze at around 11:15 p.m.

Cause unknown

A police spokesman praised the train's staff for their "prudent behavior" in ensuring that all passengers left the train safely.

Germany's federal police have opened an investigation into the cause of the fire. They assume that a technical problem, such as a short circuit was to blame.

ksb/rc (AFP, dpa)

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