A major fire broke out in one of the bogies of New Delhi-Chennai Tamil Nadu Express near Nellore in Andhra Pradesh on Monday morning. While 47 people are feared dead in the incident, 25 are said to be injured out of whom 12 have suffered burn injuries. The death toll is expected to rise further.
The incident occurred at around 4:30 am when the Nellore station manager noticed the fire in one of the bogies of the train, officials said.
The train was immediately brought to a halt and the fire brigade was pressed into service and the blaze was extinguished, they said.
The cause of the fire is yet to be determined, however, it was suspected to be caused by a short circuit in the coach, they added.
CPRO of the South Central Railway Sambasiva Rao said that a special train would be leaving from Chennai to Nellore at 9.30 am. “It is too early to comment on the cause of fire. Rescue operations are on. Only one coach was affected in the fire. Nearly 25 people were injured. They have all been admitted to a nearby hospital. A special train will leave from Chennai to Nellore at 9.30 am for rescue operations,” he said.
The S-11 coach had around 72 passengers, said sources.
Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy has directed the district administration to provide immediate medical relief to the injured.
Meanwhile, gas cutters are being used to cut through the coach and recover more bodies.
Railway Minister Mukul Roy and the Chairman of the Railway Board are expected to visit the site shortly.
A help desk has been opened at the Chennai Central Station to give information on the fire. The phone numbers are 044-25357398 and 044-25330821.
The helpline numbers at Nellore are 0861-2345863, 864, 865, 866 and 0866-2576924; At Secunderabad: 040–27786723, 27700868, 27786539; At Warangal: 0870-2426232, 09701371063.
Meanwhile, the Northern Railway has opened helpline numbers 011-23342954, 23341072, 23341074 at New Delhi Station and 011-24359748 at Hazrat Nizamuddin Station.
VSK Komdi, Additional DG Railways, Andhra Pradesh has also appealed anxious relatives of passengers of the S-11 coach to send particulars of their near and dear ones to the following email-id: email@example.com.
Meanwhile, the Indian Railway has announced Rs 5 lakh ex-gratia relief to the relatives of the dead.