At least eight people were killed in a fire that broke out inside a stationary train compartment in Madurai railway station in the wee hour of Saturday, with the Southern Railway saying an “illegal gas cylinder” led to the blaze.
The passengers of the “private party coach” had arrived from Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh.
Madurai district collector M S Sangeetha, who rushed to the station to enquire, said 10 persons were killed in the fire accident in the train compartment. 20 others with injuries have been admitted to a hospital for treatment. An ex gratia of Rs 10 lakh will be given to the family of the deceased, said the Southern Railway.
Police, fire and rescue services personnel besides railway staff, involved in dousing the fire, extricated the charred bodies from the compartment.
VIDEO | Several killed after a fire broke out in a tourist train parked on Bodi Lane near Madurai railway station in the wee hours of Saturday. pic.twitter.com/z6EMz4xsXn
— Press Trust of India (@PTI_News) August 26, 2023
The fire broke out at 5.15 am on Saturday 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.
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“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.