Tragedy struck when a fire broke out in a train compartment near Madurai railway station in Tamil Nadu, claiming the lives of at least nine people. The incident occurred early on a Saturday morning in the private party coach of the Punalur-Madurai Express. The victims, all natives of Uttar Pradesh, were on a religious trip. The fire was caused by a gas cylinder that passengers were using to make tea inside the train.
The blaze was reported at around 5:15 am, and firefighters were quick to respond, managing to extinguish the flames by 7:15 am. The passengers had locked the coach from the inside, believing it to be a safety measure. Unfortunately, the cylinder explosion made it difficult for them to escape, and nine passengers lost their lives.
Initial investigations have revealed that the passengers had secured the coach from the inside, believing it to be a protective measure. However, when the gas cylinder exploded, their exit was obstructed, and this contributed to the severity of the tragedy.
The group consisted primarily of elderly passengers, with most of them being above the age of 50. The passengers had originally boarded the train in Lucknow on August 17 and were occupying the private party coach, which had been detached and parked at the Madurai yard.
In response to the incident, P Moorthy, the Tamil Nadu Minister for Commercial Taxes, expressed condolences on behalf of the government. He also disclosed that the Chief Minister had issued directives to provide necessary assistance to the affected passengers and their families.
Additionally, the Southern Railways emphasized that the unfortunate incident did not disrupt the regular train services operating at the Madurai junction. Furthermore, the fire only inflicted damage upon the party coach itself, sparing other parts of the train from harm.