TV grab showing coaches of Howrah-Dehradun express ablaze near Giridih railway station in Jharkhand in the early hours on November 22, 2011. As many as seven passengers were killed and several injured in the fire. UNI PHOTO
At least seven persons, including a five-year-old girl, were killed when two air-conditioned coaches of the Howarah-Dehradun Doon Express train caught fire near Parasnath in Giridih district of Jharkhand in the early hours of today.
Several others were taken to hospitals in Dhanbad, Giridih and Parasnath after they complained of respiratory problems after inhaling fumes, sources said.
Indian Railways spokesman Anil Saxena told NetIndian here that the Commissioner of Railway Safety (Eastern Circle) R P Yadav would conduct an inquiry into the incident.
He said three senior officials of the Railay Board were rushing to the site of the accident. A relief train and ambulances had been sent to the site.
The fire broke out around 0230 hours near Nimiyaghat railway station in 3-tier AC coach B1 and then spread to the adjacent 3-tier B2 coach, the sources said.
Passengers pulled the emergency alarm chain and most of them managed to get out safely, the sources said.
The two coaches, which were completely gutted, were detached from the train. Arrangements were being made for the rest of the train to resume its journey to Dehradun in Uttarakhand, the sources said.
A spokesman for Eastern Railway said that the victims included an Australian woman. Others identified included two girls Arpita Thakur (4) and M Ali (8), two women Usha Nagar (56) and Anumita Gaur (25) and a man, Chunilal Khatri.
Railways Minister Dinesh Trivedi has sanctioned an ex-gratia payment of Rs 5 lakhs for the next-of-kin of each of those killed and Rs 25,000 each to all passengers of the two coaches.