Madurai, Tamil Nadu:
At least 10 people have died and more than 20 are injured in a massive fire that broke out inside a stationary train compartment in Madurai railway station early this morning.
The Southern Railway said that an “illegal gas cylinder” on board led to the fire. The passengers of the “private party coach” had arrived from Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh.
Madurai district collector MS Sangeetha, who rushed to the station to enquire, said 10 persons were killed in the fire accident in the train compartment. 20 people with injuries have been admitted to a hospital for treatment.
Police, fire and rescue services personnel besides railway staff, involved in dousing the fire, extricated the charred bodies from the compartment.
The fire broke out at 5:15 am today and the fire service personnel who arrived at the spot half an hour later put down the blaze by 7:15 am, a Southern Railway release said.
“This is a private party coach that was attached at Nagercoil Junction yesterday (Aug 25) by train no. 16730 (Punalur-Madurai Exp). Party coach was detached and kept at Madurai Stabling line. The passengers in the private party coach have illegally smuggled gas cylinder and this has caused the fire. Many passengers had got out of the coach on noticing fire. Some passengers had got down at platform itself,” the release said.
“The party coach had started the journey from Lucknow on August 17. They are scheduled to return to Chennai tomorrow… and return to Lucknow from there,” it added.
Among the scattered items that lay on the accident spot included a cylinder and a bag of potatoes, indicating there were attempts to cook food.
Any individual can book party coach using IRCTC portal. They are not allowed to carry any inflammable material like gas cylinder. The coach is to used only for transportation purpose, the release said, adding senior officials were rushing to the spot.