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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Twin Fires Halt Ring Line

Two minor fires brought trains to a temporary halt Tuesday on the metro's busy ring line, although metro officials hotly denied that transportation had been affected.

At approximately 9:30 a.m., a fire broke out in the tunnel between the Prospekt Mira and Novoslobodskaya stations when a spark from electrical wiring caused containers left by cleaning crews to ignite, workers at the Prospekt Mira station said.

The tunnel was also the site of a fire just three weeks ago when a high-voltage wire shorted in the early hours of the morning, halting a train that was in the tunnel and closing the entire ring line for about eight hours.

Tuesday's fire, while lasting only about five minutes, blocked rush-hour traffic heading counterclockwise into Prospect Mira for 20 minutes, said Muza Lyubutina, the station watchwoman.

Movement along the entire ring line briefly came to a standstill until metro officials established that the fire was not a major combustion, said an on-duty station militiaman, who refused to give his name. Twelve city firemen immediately arrived on the scene to extinguish the flames.

A second fire broke out at around 1:50 p.m. when embers from the earlier fire reignited. According to the militiaman, movement between Prospekt Mira and Novoslobodskaya was again stopped for 25 to 35 minutes.

Some metro officials steadfastly denied that anything had occurred, while others said they had heard "only rumors" about a fire.

The Prospekt Mira militiaman admitted that the "leadership" of the subway and metro militia had given the order after the first fire broke out to say nothing or to say only that the fire was due to "technical reasons."

"They're afraid that people will panic again," he said.

Saying the management would be "displeased" if she said otherwise, Lyubutina put forward her own version of events: "There was no halt in traffic. Just heightened vigilance about metro safety."