Though there were only two passengers in the compartment for the differently abled, they were saved by swift action by the guard of the Chennai-Alapuzha Express, D. Thomas and Railway Protection Force Assistant Sub-Inspector K. Kasilingam from the fire that was spreading fast from the luggage section.
Mimoon, a resident of Chennai, and her son J. Maseeb Ali were the passengers who were evacuated from the coach. "We noticed the smoke coming from the luggage area and then the flames spreading fast. By the time the train came to a halt, the entire luggage area in the rear of the coach was on fire," Mimoon said.
Mr. Thomas and the personnel in the station also isolated the coach from the train.
"We tried to put out the flames using fire extinguishers in my coach. But we could not control it," Mr. Thomas said.
Salem Divisional Railway Manager Sujatha Jayaraj, who visited the spot, said a detailed probe would be conducted to know the cause of the fire. Superintendent of Police R. Ponni and senior police officials inspected to the spot.
Several trains in the Salem – Coimbatore section were delayed for more than two hours due to the incident.
The railway officials replaced the gutted coach with another luggage-cum-second class compartment and the train left Perundurai after a delay of four hours.