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TN Exp fire: Survivors recall the horrific incident


Meenakshi Mahadevan,CNN-IBN
Jul 31, 2012 at 07:34am IST

Nellore: Thirty two passengers were killed after a coach of the Delhi-Chennai Tamil Nadu Express caught fire at around 4 am on Monday at Nellore in Andhra Pradesh. The cause of the fire in S-11 coach is not known yet, but Railway Minister Mukul Roy has hinted at sabotage. As many as 25 people have been injured in the fire with 12 of them sustaining burn injuries.

A one-month-old baby is one for the few that survived the massive fire that raged through the S-11 coach of Chennai bound Tamil Nadu Express. The child's mother is still in ICU with 40 per cent burns and no one knows the fate of the father and 3-year-old brother of the baby.

Suneel Kumar was another lucky survivor. Suspended from work, Sunil had boarded the train to Chennai without a ticket. Hoping to meet his employers, he was sitting near the toilet when the fire broke out, and quickly jumped out.

"Within a few minutes the fire had spread. There was a lot of chaos and confusion. The windows were shut as it had been raining. You could hear people crying for help. There was a lot of smoke," said Suneel Kumar.

Survivors like Suneel probably owe their life to 21-year-old Anil Kumar, who had the presence of mind to pull the emergency chain and bringing the train to a halt. Not just that, he helped half a dozen passengers escape.

"The first thing that we did was open the windows. There was so much smoke...none could breathe. I then pulled the emergency chain to stop the train. Then, a couple of other boys and I helped the women get off," Anil Kumar.

The Tamil Nadu Express fire reminds the grim condition of Indian Railways. Perhaps this accident will serve as a wake up call for the Railway authorities.

Helpline numbers:

At Nellore: 0861-2345863, 864, 865, 866 and 0866-2576924;

At New Delhi Station: 011-23342954, 23341072, 23341074.

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