At least nine persons died at the Madurai railway station in Tamil Nadu on Saturday after a gas cylinder that was being carried illegally in a compartment led to a fire, reported PTI.
The Southern Railways had initially said that 10 persons died, but later revised the number of fatalities to nine.
Seven persons sustained minor injuries in the accident and are being treated at the Government Rajaji Hospital as well as at the Railway Hospital, Madurai District Collector MS Sangeetha said, according to The Indian Express.
The fire broke out inside a private party coach with over 60 passengers from Uttar Pradesh at 5.15 am. The blaze was doused by 7.15 am, the Railways said.
The private party coach was attached to the train at Nagercoil Junction on Friday, the Railways said. It was then detached and parked at the Madurai Stabling Line on Saturday morning.
The Railways said that the passengers in the coach had smuggled the gas cylinder that caused the fire. The authorities said that carrying such inflammable material in a train compartment is not permitted.
Visuals on social media showed the coach up in flames and smoke rising from it.
No other coaches were damaged in the fire accident and there has been no disruption of train services at the Madurai junction.
Divisional Railway Manager of the North Eastern Railway (Lucknow division), Aditya Kumar said that the gas cylinder was not in the coach when the passengers boarded the train from Lucknow.
“When such party coaches move we check that no inflammable item is being carried,” he told PTI. “We found nothing during that checking. But they must have received it illegally from somewhere.”
He also said that after the incident, the travel agent who made the booking for the party coach went absconding, and the Railway authorities are looking for him.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin announced an ex gratia payment of Rs 3 lakh to the families of the victims. Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath also announced a payment of Rs 2 lakh to the families of those who died.