Kasaragod, Jan 17: A major calamity was averted following the timely detection of a fire in Malabar Express which was moving from Mangaluru to Thiruvananthapuram on Sunday.
According to sources, the train (No 06630) which left Mangaluru on Saturday evening met with the mishap at Edava on Kollam-Thiruvananthapuram border area by Sunday morning.
The fire broke out from the parcel van close to the engine and a gatekeeper who spotted the smoke alerted the authorities and the fire was swiftly put out.
A commercial supervisor of Kasargod railway station, Narayan Naik, was placed under suspension after a preliminary enquiry found that the fire originated from two motorcycles improperly loaded from Kasargod. A detailed probe into the incident was also on, railway sources said.
The incident took place by around 7.35 am. After the train left Paravur station in Kollam district and was proceeding towards Varkala in Thiruvananthapuram, a gate keeper near the Edava station noticed the smoke and alerted the Varkala station authorities.
The message was immediately passed on the loco pilot of the train and the train was stopped and loco pilot and guard tried to extinguish the fire. Fire and Rescue Services personnel too joined and the fire was put out before spreading.
Passengers who got panicked and remained off the coaches while the fire fighting was going on. Passengers said that burning smell was persisting for some time and they were under the impression that it would be from outside. After safety inspections, the train resumed the journey to Thiruvananthapuram.
Railway sources said that there were not much luggage in the parcel van as most luggage were already offloaded at stations prior to Paravur. Estimation of loss to property was being determined.