Narrow escape for passengers as train catches fire

September 24th, 2008 - 1:20 pm ICT by IANS  

Hyderabad, Sep 24 (IANS) Passengers of the Secunderabad-Tirupati Padmavati Express had a narrow escape as a fire broke out in one of the coaches in Prakasam district of Andhra Pradesh early Wednesday, police said. There was no loss of life but one woman who received minor injuries and two others who complained of suffocation were rushed to a hospital.

Two air-conditioned bogies were completely gutted in the fire that broke out around 3.30 a.m. as the train was near Ulavapadu railway station in Prakasam district, about 400 km from here.

The station master, who noticed the smoke in B1 coach, alerted the train driver. Meanwhile, some passengers also pulled the chain to stop the train. Officials said all the passengers came out safely. The fire spread to the A1 coach. The railway personnel detached the affected coaches from the rest of the train to prevent the fire from spreading.

“Fortunately, all doors of the coach opened easily and this prevented a tragedy,” said Prakasam district collector K. Devanand, who along with senior police officials rushed to the scene.

According to eyewitnesses, alertness on part of the railway staff averted a major disaster.

A similar fire in Gautami Express last month had killed 31 passengers and injured several others. The passenger train, which was going from Secunderabad to Kakinada, caught fire in the early hours of Aug 1 in Warangal district.

Padmavati Express, which left Secunderabad railway station here Tuesday evening, later continued its journey to the temple town of Tirupati.

Railway authorities said the cause of the fire would be known only after a thorough investigation. The accident affected other train services in the region too.

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