Police are searching for a middle-aged arsonist who started a fire inside a packed MTR train during the rush hour yesterday morning, injuring 14 people and forcing 1,200 passengers to evacuate at Admiralty station. Witnesses said the arsonist, who later fled, was about 50 years old, fat and wearing a trenchcoat and hat. He left behind five bottles of thinner and five 250 gram cylinders of liquefied petroleum gas. Only one of the bottles of thinner and some newspapers were set alight after several passengers reportedly stopped him from launching a full-scale arson attack - a consequence which police said would have been disastrous. Police have ruled out the possibility of a terrorist attack, adding that the arsonist might be mentally disturbed. Detectives are viewing video footage from MTR stations to try to track him down. The arsonist was seen starting the fire in the first compartment of the Tsuen Wan line train as it crossed from Tsim Sha Tsui to Admiralty at 9.12am. Smoke quickly engulfed the train before an explosion was heard. Train services on the Tsuen Wan line and between Central and Tsim Sha Tsui were suspended for about 30 minutes. Panicked passengers fled through the train, some in tears and others barefoot, having left shoes, bags and clothes in the blackened compartment. When passengers could move no further through the packed carriages, they tried to get fresh air, only to find that many windows could not be opened. They were evacuated when the train reached Admiralty about two minutes after the fire broke out. The arsonist fled. The fire was extinguished by passengers and station staff before fire fighters arrived. Fourteen people, aged between two and 54, were injured, mostly after inhaling the dense smoke. All were treated at Queen Mary Hospital and discharged. Witnesses are urged to call police on 2859 8500.