Metro services were affected in Kolkata, and many passengers injured, after a fire broke out in an AC coach on Thursday. Sources said around 1,500 passengers panicked after smoke filled coaches. Some broke windows to jump out into the tunnel between Rabindra Sadan and Maidan metro station. No casualty was reported, said police.
Around 42 passengers were rushed to SSKM Hospital while five were taken to Calcutta Medical College and Hospital. Passengers claimed they kept calling the helpline number, but the rescue team only reached much later.
“A fire broke out in Rabindra Sadan-Maidan metro at around 5.10 pm.The fire was controlled by our staff using fire hydrants. Fire services and Kolkata Police disaster management groups were also involved. The passengers of the affected metro were evacuated safely,” said Metro CPRO Indrani Banerjee.
The smoke was first detected at around 4.50 pm when the train was approaching Maidan station, sources said, adding the power switched was turned off while the fire was brought under control.
“We were stuck inside for more than 40 minutes. We could see flames and feel the smoke. We kept calling on the helpline but no one came to the rescue. Some even jumped off the coach by breaking the windows,” said Aritri Dey, a passenger. A fellow commuter, Malabika Dey, also claimed that rescue operations took time.
A PTI report said Kolkata Metro officials denied the delay. Metro authorities said that after the fire was put out and the cooling process was completed, the emergency gate was opened and evacuation of passengers started. A statement by the authorities also said that a probe had been ordered into the incident, and that the women’s helpline and security helpline had answered a total of 50 calls over the issue.
“Many had injuries and cut marks, a few of them were having breathing problems. Five have been admitted, the rest will be discharged after medication,” said a source at SSKM Hospital.