Crackers caused Tamil Nadu Express fire: Probe report (Lead)

September 13th, 2012 - 9:36 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Sep 13 (IANS) Accidental igniting of crackers on board the Tamil Nadu Express caused the fire that claimed 32 lives and injured 28 people in July this year, said official sources Thursday.

“The fire was caused due to accidental igniting of crackers being carried in the S-11 coach of the train,” said the preliminary inquiry report submitted by Commissioner Railway Safety (South Central Circle) Dinesh Kumar Singh to the railway ministry.

The report has absolved the railway staff in the fire incident which occurred in the early hours July 30 in New Delhi-Chennai Tamil Nadu Express at Nellore in Andhra Pradesh.

“The unusual occurrence falls under the category of failure of persons other than railway staff,” said the report.

One of the crackers, said the CRS report, might have got ignited either due to some accidental impact or due to some person throwing a lighted object like cigarette or matchstick or bidi stub near it unknowingly.

“The fire would have spread very fast due to burning of substantial amount of crackers kept nearby,” said the report.

According to the report, the crackers blast was possibly mistaken for an explosion as was reported by a few passengers during the probe.

“In all likelihood, what few passengers had observed as sparks near the roof across the width of coach and few as explosive sounds would have been due to bursting of crackers,” it said.

The report said this was further corroborated by the evidence of many passengers who stated that the entire coach was filled up with pungent smoke, which caused burning sensation in their eyes, in a minute.

“Such sudden and strong smoke was most probably caused by the fire crackers, since there was no other material in the coach which could cause such smoke in a short time,” said the report.

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