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Smoke alarm sets off fire scare in Austrian Alpine tunnel

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BERLIN (AP) — A fire alarm inside a railway tunnel being built under the Austrian Alps prompted workers briefly to take shelter in an underground safety area Monday, a project manager said.

Eighteen people were working on a tunnel-boring machine inside the Brenner tunnel construction site when the alarm went off, said Konrad Bergmeister, the Austrian CEO of project management company BBT SE. It turned out to be a false alarm, he said.

He said a smoke sensor set off the alarm, prompting people to take shelter in a safety container, but workers quickly determined there was no fire or smoke. Electricians were working to determine the cause of the alarm.

Officials had earlier said the tunnel-boring machine had apparently caught fire or at least emitted smoke inside the tunnel.

The Brenner tunnel aims to link the Austrian city of Innsbruck and central Europe with northern Italy.

The Brenner Base Tunnel project, the main part of which is a 55-kilometer (34-mile) connection between Innsbruck and Fortezza in northern Italy, is supposed to be completed in the mid-2020s. It will consist of two single-track tunnels as well as a third tunnel that will eventually help with drainage.

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