A fire broke out in a luggage van of a running train in Kerala on Sunday and was doused in time before it could spread to adjacent passenger coach, averting a possible major mishap, railway source said.
The Thiruvananthapuram-bound Malabar Express from Mangaluru was stopped at Edava, about 60 km from here, after a gatekeeper there noticed smoke billowing out of the luggage van close to the engine and alerted officials around 7.40 am, they said.
Fire force personnel said halting of the train in time averted a major blaze as the fire did not spread to other coaches.
According to the railway sources, the gatekeeper informed the station master of Varkala, around 15 km from Edava, who in turn alerted the loco pilot and the guard, following which the train was halted immediately.
An attempt was made to douse the blaze with fire extinguishers available in the train before the fire force personnel, who rushed to the spot, put it out, the sources told PTI.
Shinoj, a passenger of the train, said seeing the smoke he first thought it must be due to some garbage being burnt on roadside. He later informed the police control room.
Two motorcycles were among the goods gutted, the sources said adding a staff of Kasaragod railway parcel office has been suspended pending inquiry into lapses if any in booking of the vehicles.
According to preliminary assessment, it was suspected one of the bikes could have triggered the fire, the sources said without elaborating further.
Later, the train left for its destination after officials, including the Senior Divisional Mechanical Engineer, inspected the luggage van and found it fit for journey.