Panic gripped Metro railway passengers late on Thursday evening after smoke engulfed nearly all the compartments of a Dum Dum-bound train. The smoke followed an explosion-like sound, setting of rumours of a fire in one of the compartments.
"It was around 9pm. The train had just entered the tunnel at the MG Road station when we heard a loud sound in the third compartment. The lights went out and smoke started engulfing the dark compartments," Rupa Dhar, one of the harried passengers, told HT.
"The train stopped immediately, with three of the nine compartments inside the tunnel. Passengers scurried towards the rear to reach the platform. But as we moved from one compartment to the other we found that smoke had engulfed the entire train and the lights and fans in most of the compartments weren’t functioning. Some passengers broke the glass panes of doors and windows and passengers were stranded and feeling suffocated,” Rafique Chisti, another passenger, told HT.
With memories of the AMRI fire, which snuffed out 91 lives, still raw, panic gripped the passengers. Some even raised an alarm, claiming that they had spotted fire.
It was then that the Metro authorities issued an alert via the public address that the doors of the compartments still inside the platform have been opened, so the passengers could get off safe. Once the evacuation was complete, the rake rolled out for Dum Dum. Passenger services were restored at around 9.30pm.
A few passengers claimed that some of the fellow commuters sustained injuries from broken glass panes, which lay scattered on the platform. As news spread, fire tenders and officers of the local police station rushed to the spot.
However, the Metro officials claimed that as there was no fire the fire tenders weren’t used. A senior Metro railway official attributed the snag to a technical fault. However, the exact course of events leading up to the snag, are yet to be ascertained.