Mumbai-Dehradun Express catches fire, nine killed

Nine people were charred to death when a fire broke out in three coaches of Mumbai-Dehradun Express train near Dahanu road in neighbouring Thane district in the wee hours today.

Among the nine dead, one is a woman and four are men while the rest were yet to be identified, said Western Railway PRO Sharat Chandra.

Four persons have sustained minor injuries, said the police.

Railway Minister Mallikarjun Kharge has announced an ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh each to the next of kin of those killed and Rs 1 lakh to people who are seriously injured. A sum of Rs 50,000 will be given to those who received minor injuries.

The commissioner of Railway Safety will conduct an inquiry into the fire incident, Arunendra Kumar, chairman fo Railway Board said.

The fire erupted in one of the three coaches and soon spread to other two coaches when the passengers were sleeping at about 2.50 AM, Chandra said, adding the cause of the blaze is not yet known.

He said that a level crossing gate man spotted the fire and immediately alerted the guard inside the train. The guard subsequently informed the motorman following which the train was stopped.

"Due to alertness of the gate man, a major disaster was averted," Chandra said.

The train was halted at Gholvad railway station near Dahanu road where the fire was brought under control.

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