Fire in Mumbai-Dehradun Express, nine passengers killed

Nine people have been killed in a fire that broke out in the Bandra-Dehradun Express near Gholwad station near Thane in Maharashtra in the early hours of Wednesday. The fire is believed to have erupted in one coach and quickly spread to two other coaches, catching the passengers in their sleep around 2.30 a.m., a Western Railway official spokesperson said. According to latest reports, coaches S2, S3 and S4 of train number 19019 have been completely charred by the blaze. The accident comes just 12 days after 26 passengers of Bangalore-Nanded Express similarly perished in a blaze in the train near Puttaparthi in Andhra Pradesh. "The fire (on Bandra-Dehradun Express) was noticed on the speeding train by a level-crossing gateman who alerted the guard. The guard informed the driver and the train was stopped. The gateman did a commendable job and averted a major disaster," the spokesperson said. The fire was brought under control shortly after the train was brought to a halt at Gholwad station, around 145 km from north of Mumbai on the Maharasthra-Gujarat border. Top officials, including the divisional railway manager, have rushed to the tragedy site and are supervising the relief operations. As of yet, five of the deceased have been identified: Dev Shankar Upadhyay, Deepika Shah, Surendra Shah, Nasir Khan, Ahmed Khan Pathan. The Western Railway Helpline Numbers for the Dehradun Exp fire incident : 022-23011853 and 022-23007388. 6 coaches of the train have now been detached and sent to Gholwad station along with the remaining passengers. Union Railway Minister Mallikarjun Kharge has now ordered a probe into the incident alongwith announcing Rs.5 lakh ex-gratia payment to the kin of the victims of the blaze.

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