Barely two weeks after 32 passengers were charred to death in a fire in the S-11 bogie of the Tamil Nadu Express, 11 passengers sustained injuries when a minor fire broke out in the S-7 bogie of the Trivandrum-Guwahati Express in the wee hours of Monday. All the injured passengers belong to Odisha and West Bengal.
Though authorities have not confirmed the reason behind the fire, they suspect that overloading of the bogie may have been behind it.
The fire broke out at around 3.45 a.m. when the train had passed Vatlur station and was approaching Powerpeta in West Godavari district. Passengers in the S-7 reservation coach suddenly saw sparks and smoke in the bogie. Panicked, they ran helter-skelter to safety.
In the melee, 11 youths travelling on the footboard in the adjacent compartment jumped from the running train. The train was brought to a halt when a passenger in S-7 pulled the chain.
Out of the 11 who jumped, two received serious injuries on their legs while another sustained a head injury. All the injured were shifted to government hospital through the 108 ambulance service.
The injured were identified as Manikya Aditya (21) and Niranjan (25) of Odisha and Altaf Khan (30), Arun Das (29), Sai Maharaj (28), Raja Kishore (20), Ram Biwas (26), Bhishma Varab (20), Firoz (22), Munna (19) and Sattar Ali (25), all belonging to West Bengal.
Rama Rao, who was travelling to Visakhapatnam, said that passengers in the compartment had got scared. “We were worried for our safety, remembering the recent Tamil Nadu Express fire. Thank God a major mishap was averted,” he said.
Special squads from Vijayawada rushed to Eluru. Police, who checked the entire train, did not find any evidence of sabotage.