Stationary train compartment in India’s Tamil Nadu catches fire: 10 dead, 20 injured
Charred remains of a train compartment that caught fire at Madurai railway station in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu on Saturday, August 26, 2023. (PTI Photo)
AT LEAST 10 people were charred to death while more than 20 injured after a massive fire broke out inside a stationary compartment of a train at a railway station in Madurai in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu early on Saturday (26).
According to the Southern Railway, the fire was caused by an “illegal gas cylinder” on board, PTI reported.
The passengers of the “private party coach” had reached the southern city from Lucknow in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh.
MS Sangeetha, the district collector of Madurai who rushed to the station to enquire, said 10 people were killed. Twenty people who suffered injuries were admitted to a hospital for treatment.
“10 persons reported dead,” in the fire, a release from Southern Railway confirmed.
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 local time 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….smuggled gas cylinder and this has caused the fire,” the release said.
The party coach had started the journey from Lucknow on August 17, scheduled to return to Tamil Nadu’s capital Chennai on Sunday (27) and return to Lucknow from there, it added.
“While the coach was stabled/parked, some members of the party in the private party coach were using the illegally smuggled cooking gas cylinder unauthorisedly for preparing tea/snacks, which caused the fire in the stabled/parked coach. Most of the passengers could get out of the coach on noticing fire. Some passengers had already got down at platform also before detachment of coach,” it added.
An amount of Rs 10 lakh (£9,629) was being paid to each of the families of those who died, it said.
Southern Railway also announced two help line numbers for information related to the fire incident and causalities– 9360552608, 8015681915.
Any individual can book a party coach using IRCTC (Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation) portal. They are not allowed to carry any inflammable material such as gas cylinder. The coach is be to used only for transportation purposes, the release said, adding senior officials went to the spot.
Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath expressed grief over the deaths caused by the train fire and announced an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh (£1,926) for the next of kin of people from the state who died in the incident.
(With PTI inputs)