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Seven killed as train catches fire in Jharkhand

By The Assam Tribune

RANCHI/NEW DELHI, Nov 22 (IANS): At least seven people were burnt to death and over a dozen suffered minor injuries when two AC coaches of the Howrah-Dehradun Express caught fire Tuesday in Jharkhand's Giridih district, police said.

"Seven people, including three children, died after two coaches of the Howrah-Dehradun Express caught fire. Four bodies have been identified. The fire has been extinguished," D. Parwa Lakra, deputy commissioner of Giridih, told IANS over phone.

The incident took place between Nimiyaghat and Parasnath railway stations. Two AC coaches caught fire around 2.30 a.m. A blast in a gas cylinder of one of the coaches is said to be the reason behind the incident.

"Over a dozen people suffered minor injuries. Four Australian women were in the B1 AC coach. Three of them have been admitted to hospital. It is suspected that the fourth woman died," said P.K. Srivastav, railway superintendent of police of Dhanbad division.

Asked about possibilities of more bodies in the burnt coaches, he said: "We have searched both burnt coaches and found only seven bodies. There were 72 passengers in B1 which caught fire first and the bodies were recovered from the same coach."

"The passengers of B2 coach managed to escape to other coaches. The burnt coaches were detached from the train and taken to Gomoh railway station. The train has been dispatched to its destination," he added.

AC three-tier coach number B1 caught fire first which spread to the second AC bogey B2. Both coaches were badly burnt. High rising flames were seen by the local people.

"The AC of the coach was switched off and someone switched on the heater. We started feeling suffocated. We informed the TTE (Travelling Ticket Examiner) about it. But no timely action was taken," a passenger travelling in the train told news channels.

The efforts of local villagers to save people were futile.

"We rushed to the spot after hearing the cries of the people. One woman was crying to save her girl. Three-four people tried to enter the coaches but couldn't due to dense smoke emanating from the fire," said Ramesh, one of the villagers.

Three victims have been identified as Archita Thakur, 4, Tubi Ali Akhtar, 8, and Anumita Singh, around 30 years old.

Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi announced compensation of Rs.5 lakh for the kin of each of those killed.

The railways also announced compensation of Rs.25,000 each for the passengers of the neighbouring coaches "for the inconvenience they might have suffered", a ministry official said.

Train services have been partially affected. Some of the services have been diverted. Traffic on the route has been restored, said a railway official.

Authorities have issued helpline numbers -- Dhanbad: 0326-2220518 and Hajipur: 06224-273293.

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Seven killed as train catches fire in Jharkhand

RANCHI/NEW DELHI, Nov 22 (IANS): At least seven people were burnt to death and over a dozen suffered minor injuries when two AC coaches of the Howrah-Dehradun Express caught fire Tuesday in Jharkhand's Giridih district, police said.

"Seven people, including three children, died after two coaches of the Howrah-Dehradun Express caught fire. Four bodies have been identified. The fire has been extinguished," D. Parwa Lakra, deputy commissioner of Giridih, told IANS over phone.

The incident took place between Nimiyaghat and Parasnath railway stations. Two AC coaches caught fire around 2.30 a.m. A blast in a gas cylinder of one of the coaches is said to be the reason behind the incident.

"Over a dozen people suffered minor injuries. Four Australian women were in the B1 AC coach. Three of them have been admitted to hospital. It is suspected that the fourth woman died," said P.K. Srivastav, railway superintendent of police of Dhanbad division.

Asked about possibilities of more bodies in the burnt coaches, he said: "We have searched both burnt coaches and found only seven bodies. There were 72 passengers in B1 which caught fire first and the bodies were recovered from the same coach."

"The passengers of B2 coach managed to escape to other coaches. The burnt coaches were detached from the train and taken to Gomoh railway station. The train has been dispatched to its destination," he added.

AC three-tier coach number B1 caught fire first which spread to the second AC bogey B2. Both coaches were badly burnt. High rising flames were seen by the local people.

"The AC of the coach was switched off and someone switched on the heater. We started feeling suffocated. We informed the TTE (Travelling Ticket Examiner) about it. But no timely action was taken," a passenger travelling in the train told news channels.

The efforts of local villagers to save people were futile.

"We rushed to the spot after hearing the cries of the people. One woman was crying to save her girl. Three-four people tried to enter the coaches but couldn't due to dense smoke emanating from the fire," said Ramesh, one of the villagers.

Three victims have been identified as Archita Thakur, 4, Tubi Ali Akhtar, 8, and Anumita Singh, around 30 years old.

Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi announced compensation of Rs.5 lakh for the kin of each of those killed.

The railways also announced compensation of Rs.25,000 each for the passengers of the neighbouring coaches "for the inconvenience they might have suffered", a ministry official said.

Train services have been partially affected. Some of the services have been diverted. Traffic on the route has been restored, said a railway official.

Authorities have issued helpline numbers -- Dhanbad: 0326-2220518 and Hajipur: 06224-273293.