Close shave for passengers as fire guts engine

Electrical leakage triggers blaze; driver keeps engine rolling to reach Veerarakiyam; rescue personnel douse flames

Published: 30th May 2016 06:08 AM  |   Last Updated: 30th May 2016 06:08 AM   |  A+A-

KARUR: Hundreds of passengers of a train had a narrow escape on Sunday after the engine caught fire and almost gutted the compartment next to it.

The Tiruchy-bound train caught fire minutes after it started rolling from Karur around 6.50 am.

Passengers claimed they first noticed smoke emanating from the rear side of the engine. “Initially, there was smoke from the rear end of the engine. Flames appeared as the train crossed Puliyur. We all panicked and started screaming,” recalled Karthikeyan (45), a resident of Karur who was on the train.

The panicked passengers used the vestibule to scoot to compartments in the rear end of the train.

Loco pilot Jayaprakash Varma was aware of the fire but did not halt the train. Railway officials claimed he decided to keep it rolling, as fire engines couldn’t have reached the stretch, surrounded as it was by agricultural fields.

The train finally halted at Veerarakiyam, which is the closest railway station. By that time, the flames were as high as 50 feet and spread to the compartment adjacent the engine.

After the train pulled into the station, all the passengers safely got down. Officials said none of the passenger or their belongings was damaged.

Senior Divisional Mechanical Engineer Saravanan visited the spot and inquired about the accident. Preliminary investigations suggest electric leakage sparked the fire.

After an hour of fire fighting, the blaze was put off by a team led by Karur station officer K Rajagopal. The firefighters managed to prevent the fire from spreading to the rest of the compartments.


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