Pre-dawn scare on track as Alleppey Express bogie catches fire
Passengers on Chennai-Alleppey Express narrowly escaped being trapped in a blaze on Thursday, after a fire that broke out in the brake van in the early hours was noticed quickly and immediate steps were taken to stop it from spreading.
The fire in the bogie at the far end of the train was noticed after it crossed Thottipalayam, nearly 5 km from Perundurai—a village located 17 km from Erode town.
A differently-abled person, Masif Ali, 20, who was travelling in the same coach—which is separated into sections for luggage, for the disabled and for women—saw smoke emanating from the baggage section at 4 am. “He alerted me and I woke the passengers in the ladies section, where there were 17 women,” his mother Maimun told Express. Guard Thomas and ticket examiner Ponnusamy then informed engine driver Gopalakrishnan and assistant driver Vishnu, who alerted the fire brigade at Perundurai through their wireless radios.
“The Perundurai fire station received a call at 4.27 am. Fire tenders from Perundurai, Erode, Modakurichi and Bavani were rushed to the spot and the fire was extinguished by 6 am,” said R G Jayakanthan, Deputy Director, Fire Service. “As soon as the alert was sounded, the train was stopped (at Perundurai station). No one was injured,” he added. “If the compartment was in the middle, it could have caused a major mishap,” he pointed out. A short circuit might have caused the fire, he said, adding that they were able to save 70 per cent of goods in the luggage section.