Truck carrying flour, margarine at center of fatal fire in tunnel

by Teresa Acklin
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   CHAMONIX, FRANCE — A blaze in the 7-mile Alpine tunnel under Mont Blanc between France and Italy that claimed the lives of at least 40 people in March was believed to have started in a truck carrying flour and margarine, news reports indicated.

   The cause of the fire was still under investigation.

   The inferno in the tunnel raged for nearly two days ago as firefighters sprayed the area with coolant, trying to bring down temperatures that reached as high as 1,832° F.

   It was the first fatal fire in the tunnel, which was the longest in the world when it opened in 1965. The Alpine tunnel is used daily by some 4,000 trucks.

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