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Rollercoaster fire injures 54

rollercoaster
The blaze started on the mainly wooden rollercoaster  

COLOGNE, Germany -- More than 50 people have been injured after a fire broke out on a rollercoaster in a German pleasure park.

Police said the fire that had broken out in the Phantasialand pleasure park ride at about 1 p.m. (1100 GMT) and had since been extinguished.

No one died in the blaze and Cologne police director Winrich Granitzka said the 54 injured were not seriously hurt and nobody was reported killed in the blaze.

Granitzka said: "We just barely avoided a catastrophe."

The fire on the mostly wooden rollercoaster in Bruehl, near Cologne, when the park was filled with about 20,000 visitors on May Day, which is a public holiday in Germany.

The park's founder, Gottlieb Loeffelhardt, said a cable fire in one of the cars, which caused the roller coaster's emergency brakes to be activated, was the likely cause of the blaze

The 150 passengers on the ride when the fire broke out were able to exit the cars using an 18-metre (60-foot) high ladder.

Flames were first spotted on a security camera, and witnesses said it spread quickly from under the wooden tracks to also ignite nearby buildings.

Michael Kreuzberg, the mayor of Bruehl, said that the park had been evacuated of visitors and a nearby autobahn was closed in both directions.



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