Five killed as train catches fire in Andhra Pradesh

At least five people were killed and several others injured when the Delhi-Chennai Tamil Nadu Express caught fire near Nellore in the early hours of Monday, officials said.

Fire broke out around 5.30 a.m. in the S11 compartment minutes after the Chennai-bound train left Nellore railway station in south coastal Andhra Pradesh, about 450 km from here.

Nellore district collector B. Sridhar said five bodies were brought out while 15 injured were shifted to hospital.

While 15 passengers are believed to have jumped down from the burning compartment, there was no official word about others. A total of 72 passengers were travelling in the reserved compartment.

A witness told reporters that many were trapped inside when the flames engulfed the compartment. "I was lucky to come out but many passengers could not escape as two doors were jammed and the smoke spread fast," said Sudhir.

Fire fighting personnel extinguished the fire and rescue workers were using gas cutters and other equipment to retrieve the bodies.

Ambulances were pressed into service to shift the injured to hospital.

Top officials including district collector and superintendent of police rushed to the scene and supervised rescue and relief work.

The district collector said burning bogie was detached to prevent the fire from spreading to other compartments.

He quoted some witnesses as saying that the fire was caused by short circuit near the toilet.

As the train was not moving at full speed, some passengers either entered the adjoining compartment or jumped down.

However, those sleeping on the upper berths could not escape as the smoke spread fast and even the doors were not opening.

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