Puri: A major fire broke out at Puri Station in which at least five bogies of three empty stationary trains were damaged one after the other, triggering panic among passengers temporarily suspending rail services. A high level probe has been ordered into the incident.
No one was injured in the fire which broke out in New Delhi-Puri Nandankanan Express, Tirupati Express and Puri-Howrah Express when the trains were stationary at the railway station, Chief Public Relations Officer of East Coast Railway (ECoR) J P Mishra said.
“Fire Brigade, station employees, GRP and RPF combinedly worked to extinguish the fire completely from all the three trains. As all the trains were empty, there is no casualty or injury,” said ECoR sources.
According to sources, the fire first started in coach No S 12 and S 11 of 12816 Nandankanan Express around 1630 hours, shortly after it arrived at platform No 4 from New Delhi and the passengers had already disembarked.
After a short while, fire was noticed in Coach No S-2 and S-3 of 17480 Tirupati-Puri Express which was on platform No 2 and fire tenders were called in to control the blaze adding the train had arrived at Puri Station at 1615 hours. There was no passenger in these trains.
As fire-fighting operation was in full swing, a fire also broke out in 12838 Puri-Howrah Express which was standing at platform No 6 well before scheduled departure, triggering panic among passengers. One berth of General Second Class Coach of the train was affected by fire, said sources.
While it was not clear whether it was a case of sabotage and criminal conspiracy, a high-level probe has been launched into the incident and efforts are on to ascertain the circumstances that led to the fire, the CPRO said.
“The inquiry committee has started its work,” he said.
Altogether five bogies – two each of Nandankanan Express and Tirupati Express and one coach of Puri-Howrah Express – were damaged in the incident. The railway station complex was engulfed by thick smoke.
At least six fire-tenders were called which took nearly three hours to successfully extinguish the fire. Also, railway officials are working on a war footing to restore normalcy while security was tightened in and around the railway station at this pilgrim town.
As a precautionary measure, train services were suspended temporarily. Train services at Puri station were normalised when the entire fire was controlled and after special checking, the CPRO said.
Meanwhile, Railway Protection Force personnel have detained two men on the suspicion of their complicity in the fire incident.