Massive Fire at New Saudi High-Speed Train Station Injures at Least 10

September 29, 2019 Updated: September 29, 2019

DUBAI—A fire broke out in the Haramain high-speed rail station in Saudi Arabia’s coastal city of Jeddah, injuring at least ten people, authorities said on Sunday.

The Saudi Gazette reported that four people had to be transported to hospital while six injured were treated at the scene, according to the Department of Emergency and Crisis at Jeddah Health Affairs.

The fire, which caused plumes of black smoke to rise from the roof of the station after fire erupted at 12:35 p.m., was brought under control about 12 hours later, the civil defense service said.

Haramain high-speed rail station Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
A firefighting helicopter sprays water on a fire at the Haramain high-speed rail station in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on Sept. 29, 2019. (Ismail Nofal/Reuters)

A cooling process was under way, it said. Civil defense fought the fire with air support, al-Ekhbariya state television footage showed.

Five people were transported to hospital with injuries, the official Twitter account of the Mecca region reported. It said 16 medical teams were at the scene.

Al-Ekhbariya said four people were treated on site and traffic on the railway line had been suspended until further notice for safety reasons.

The 450-kilometer (280-mile) Haramain Railway linking the two holiest cities in Islam, Mecca and Medina, with the Red Sea city of Jeddah, was opened in September 2018 and cost 6.7 billion euros ($7.3 billion). Construction began in March 2009.

The station is part of efforts to boost tourism revenue as the country seeks to shed its dependence on oil exports.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

The Kingdom had just announced on Sept. 27 that it was opening the secretive country to international tourists for the first time in the countries history, offering 90-day visas to visitors from 49 countries.

“The new visa regime clearly demonstrates that the kingdom is moving forward and committed to the implementation of Vision 2030, Saudi Arabia’s national transformation program to modernize and more closely connect the kingdom to the world,” the Embassy of The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in Washington said in a press release.

By Tuqa Khalid and Lisa Barrington. With reporting by Epoch Times staff.