Nine persons were charred to death in their sleep when a fire broke out in three coaches of the Bandra-Dehradun Express in neighbouring Thane district in the wee hours today, the second fire mishap on a train within a fortnight.
The fire erupted in one of the three coaches and soon spread to other two coaches when the passengers were sleeping at about 2.50 AM.
Among the nine dead, one is a woman and four are men while the rest were yet to be identified, said Western Railway PRO Sharat Chandra.
Four persons have sustained minor injuries, said police.
The affected coaches were S-2 S-3 and S-4. The maximum numbers of passengers were in S-4 (64) followed by 54 in S-2 and three in S-3.
Railway Minister Mallikarjun Kharge has expressed grief over the death of passengers and announced an ex-gratia of Rs five lakh each to the next of kin of those killed.
Rs one lakh will be given to those seriously injured and a sum of Rs 50,000 will be given to those who received minor injuries, Chairman, Railway Board, Arunendra Kumar said.
The commissioner of Railway Safety will conduct an inquiry into the fire incident, he said.
“The cause of the fire is yet to be ascertained. However, the fire has been put out and the train has made its forward journey,” Kumar said.
Railway sources said short circuit cannot be ruled out as burnt cables were found lying under the electric board of S-3 coach.