Kannur empty train coach fire: Police nab West Bengal man

Kannur train fire
Police personnel inspect the Alappuzha-Kannur Executive Express train which caught fire, at a railway station in Kannur. Photo: PTI

Kannur: The Railway police here on Tuesday nabbed a man who hails from West Bengal in connection with the blaze that gutted an empty coach at the Kannur railway station.

The stationary coach of the Alappuzha-Kannur Executive Express had caught fire in the intervening night of May 31 and June 1.

Officials said they identified the man in question who was seen on CCTV visuals from the vicinity; his arrest will be recorded soon.

The individual was seen coming towards the train from Bharat Petroleum Corporaton's fuel storage facility nearby. It is suspected that the same person had set fire to a thicket near the tracks two months ago.

The train was stationary on a track several metres away from the platform and the Bharat Petroleum fuel depot. A major tragedy was averted as the firefighters managed to extinguish the fire before it spread to other coaches.

The incident occurred after all the passengers had deboarded; therefore, no one was injured, an officer of RPS Kannur said.

Meanwhile, opposition leader V D Satheesan condemned the incident and demanded the government take immediate action to ensure the safety of trains.

However, it is yet to be determined whether the fire was a result of sabotage or an electrical glitch, he said.

An officer from Kannur fire and rescue station said they received information about the incident at around 1.30 am; when they reached the site, one of the coaches was completely engulfed in flames. Visuals of the incident aired on TV channels showed huge flames coming out from the windows of the coach with thick plumes of smoke rising into the air.

Four fire tenders were deployed in fire-fighting operations and the flames were extinguished by around 3.15 am, the fire rescue officer said. He said that it was the third coach from the rear side of the train that had caught fire. A forensic investigation will determine what was the cause of the incident, he added.

On the night of April 2, three people, including a baby, died in a train arson in Kozhikode district.

On that day, the accused had set his co-passengers on fire onboard the Alappuzha-Kannur Executive Express when it reached the Korapuzha bridge near Elathur in Kozhikode.

Three persons including a toddler were found dead on the tracks. Nine people had suffered burn injuries in the incident. Police suspect they may have fallen off the moving train while trying to escape from the fire.
(With PTI inputs)

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