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‘We have no taxi fare’: Commuters, businesses bear the brunt of Metrorail fire

The fire led to the temporary closure of the whole station, plunging the morning commute into chaos.

Train commuters stand outside the Cape Town train station where a fire gutted 18 carriages. Picture: Lauren Isaacs/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - Metrorail on Thursday said early indications are that an accelerant was used in a devastating train fire.

The fire led to the temporary closure of the whole station, plunging the morning commute into chaos.

A commuter told Eyewitness News she was concerned.

“It’s affected us badly. There are no trains and some of us have no taxi fare. We don’t know how we’ll survive.”

The temporary closure of the station also meant the closure of all the businesses in the building.

“For a person who gets paid per hour, this fire means I can’t work or open the shop. This means I can’t support myself,” a worker told EWN.

Officials were able to reopen 12 platforms shortly after 7am, however, 18 carriages were lost in the blaze.

The Transport Minister is expected at the station in the afternoon. Metrorail's Riana Scott said this was only the second time in two decades that they've been forced to close Cape Town station altogether.

The fire is the latest in a series of blazes affecting trains in the city. There have been more than 20 this year so far.

Meanwhile, the Western Cape's Transport MEC has taken aim at law enforcement officials for failing to make arrests amid escalating train fires.

Bonginkosi Madikizela wants an urgent meeting with the national Transport Minister to discuss train attacks and how they're affecting commuters.