Commuters and tourists heading from London to France were left stuck on the train as it appeared on the French side. They were confined to Eurostar for five hours after a vaper triggered the fire alarm in one of the toilets. Despite previously being welcomed on board, the use of electronic cigarettes was banned last year.
Eurostar departed London at 3:30 on Monday only for it to come to a grinding halt a short while later after emerging from under the water. An ecig user set off a smoke detector in one of the train’s toilets causing the service to be pulled into a siding and the power to be cut off. As a consequence, the lights went off and the air conditioning ceased.
Many had problems accessing the internet in an effort to discover what had taken place – but not Twitter user @JackFrags who shared his opinions of the vaper with the world: “I’ve been stuck on the Eurostar for 3 hours now because some nob head decided to smoke a cigarette in the toilet and set the fire alarm off.”
Rebecca Stevens was at the food cart when the event happened and overheard a message on the staff radio: “They thought there was a fire on board,” but “switched off the radios because they didn't want people to hear.” Not before she’d ascertained that “someone had been smoking an ecigarette so they wanted to turn the alarm off.”
The passengers became agitated due to the lack of communication, just four messages conveyed during the five-hour delay. At one point they faced the prospect of being transferred to buses and having to suffer a further three hour slog into Paris.
Tempers rose with the temperature, the food and drink supplies on board rapidly ran out. “Babies on board were screaming and crying, it was a real nightmare. Nobody could seem to tell us what was happening, they kept changing their minds.” From tales of a vaper causing the problem, staff gave conflicting information indicating it may have been nothing more than a faulty sensor.
When they eventually rolled into Paris, seven and a half hours after starting their journey, the passengers were offered a bottle of water and taxis (the Metro had closed for the night). Eurostar have refused to confirm media stories linking the fiasco with vaping.