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.
“10 persons reported dead,” in the fire, a Southern Railway release said.
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….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 Chennai on Sunday 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 was being paid to each of the family 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 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.