At least 10 people were killed in a southern India state after a fire engulfed a stationary train compartment at a railway station on Saturday morning, officials said.
Officials said some passengers lit fire on an illegally smuggled gas stove inside the train to make tea which caused the fire inside the train in Tamil Nadu state’s Madurai district.
The major fire broke out in the parked train in the early hours around 5am and continued for two hours before firefighters were able to extinguish it.
“While the coach was stabled/parked, some members of the party in the private party coach were using the illegally smuggled cooking gas cylinder unauthorisedly for preparing tea/snacks, which caused the fire in the stabled/parked coach,” said Madurai district collector MS Sangeetha in a statement, reported Indian daily Hindustan Times.
The passengers had managed to illegally smuggle the gas cylinder which led to the fire, B Guganesan, the chief public relations officer at India’s Southern Railway said.
Police officials, firefighters and rescue officials helped pull out the bodies from the coach in the emergency operation.
Another 20 who were injured were taken to hospital, officials said.
The fire was contained to the affected coach and there was no damage to other coaches, officials said.
The train was running from northern India’s Lucknow to southern city Chennai. It had started the journey from Lucknow on 17 August and was scheduled to return to Chennai on Sunday and then return to Lucknow from there, the report added.
The fire broke out when the coach was detached from the train and kept at Madurai Stabling Line.
While the Southern Railway did not divulge the number of people inside the compartment at the time of the fire, it said many managed to get out in time.
Most of the passengers could get out of the coach on noticing fire and some passengers had already got down at platform also before detachment of coach," the official said.
Indian railways do not permit travelling with inflammables like gas stove and is legally considered a punishable offence.