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Fire in Kolkata Metro, passengers escape through dark tunnel, 16 fall ill

At least 16 passengers fell ill and one broke his leg during an escape attempt when the undercarriage of the first compartment of an air-conditioned train caught fire in Kolkata Metro.

india Updated: Dec 27, 2018 21:18 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Kolkata
Kolkata metro fire,Metro fire,Kolkata fire
Thick dark smoke filled the coaches around 5 pm when a Dum Dum-bound train was approaching Maidan station after leaving Rabindra Sadan station in south Kolkata.(Samir Jana/ HT Photo)

At least 16 passengers fell ill and one broke his leg during an escape attempt after a compartment of Kolkata Metro caught fire.The undercarriage of the first compartment of an air-conditioned train was set ablaze in Kolkata Metro during rush hour on Thursday evening.

Thick dark smoke filled the coaches around 5 pm when a Dum Dum-bound train was approaching Maidan station after leaving Rabindra Sadan station in south Kolkata. Bright flashes were noticed under the carriage.

The motorman stopped the train in the middle of the tunnel and the panicked passengers made a desperate attempt to escape since the smoke made it difficult to breathe and blocked visibility.

Some passengers broke glass panes in the windows to let fresh air in. “A passenger who tried to jump through a window, ended up with a fractured knee,” said a Metro staff at Maidan station but did not wish to be identified.

“Most of the passengers disembarked through the front emergency door and walked along the tunnel. There were so sign of any Metro staff for almost 20 minutes,” said Sharmi Chakraborty, a passenger. Most of the passengers complained that when they tried to call the Metro helpline number there was no response. The passengers dialed the Kolkata Police emergency number.

Indrani Banerjee, chief public relations officer, Metro Railways, Kolkata, said, “The train was stopped and power connection was disconnected as soon as the smoke was detected. Passengers were evacuated after the fire was extinguished. We are happy that there was no casualty.”

Banerjee refuted allegations that Metro authorities did not make any announcement to help passengers know what was going on. “The motorman of the train informed passengers over the public address system in the train,” she said.

Kolkata Police commissioner Rajeev Kumar rushed to the spot. Passengers complaining about breathing problem were taken to the state-run SSKM hospital which is not far from Maidan station.

Director general (fire services) Jag Mohan said the fire was apparently caused by a power- point in one of the compartments. “Prompt action was taken, hence there was no casualty. Condition of none of the passengers is serious,” he said.

First Published: Dec 27, 2018 19:47 IST