A subway held up by a bomb scare caught fire Tuesday, forcing officials to evacuate 5,000 passengers from the London Underground. The incident occurred one day after the IRA bombed two subway stations.
Thirty-three people were taken to three London hospitals. Most suffered from shock, smoke inhalation and "general exhaustion due to the panic," according to a London Ambulance spokesman.On Monday, a bomb in a trash can at Victoria station near Buckingham Palace exploded during morning rush hour, killing a man and injuring 40 people. Three hours earlier, a bomb exploded at Paddington station, but no one was hurt.
The IRA claimed responsibility for the Monday bombings. Security was tightened throughout the city's subway system.
Minutes before the bomb exploded in a garbage can in Victoria Station, a police officer checked the bin but failed to spot the explosive, authorities said Tuesday.
The disclosure came as police interviewed commuters and checked video cameras for additional clues to Monday's Irish Republican Army bombing in Victoria Station in the London Underground.
The IRA said Monday night that police were to blame for the casualties at Victoria because they decided not to close the rail station despite a telephoned warning.
"All future warnings should be acted upon," the IRA statement said.
But Scotland Yard responded: "For the terrorists to blame the police for their own outrages is particularly galling and almost beggars belief. Those responsible for the death and injuries were those who planted the bombs."
London Underground spokeswoman Jocelyn Baker said police and bomb squads halted traffic Tuesday on the heavily traveled Central Line after suspicious packages were found at two central London stations: Liverpool and Bond streets.
As they checked the packages, a small fire broke out in one train. Baker said the cause of the fire was not known but there was no indication it was started intentionally.
No bombs were found in either package, she said.
Some passengers on the eight Central Line trains were stranded for more than five hours before they were evacuated.