A major disaster was averted by the timely intervention of the Kottayam Fire Force and the railway authorities that prevented a tanker of the goods train that contained petrol from getting engulfed in flames at the Railway Station here on Friday.

The events that led to the tense moments unfurled at around 1.35 p.m. when the Thirunelveli- bound goods train had arrived at the station from Irumpanam carrying petrol for the Indian Oil Corporation. Many hundreds of passengers were present at the station at the time when a few among them had first noticed that the tanker had caught fire.

According to the railway authorities, while the affected tanker contained 54.5 tonnes of petrol, the train that consisted of 51 tankers had contained a total of 3969 tonnes of petrol.

Soon after the flame was discovered, Ajay Kumar, the assistant loco pilot of the train, detached the affected tanker, and soon, two units of the Kottayam Fire Force were pressed into action.

“As soon as we had arrived, we sprayed a foam compound in order to prevent the fire from spreading to other parts of the tanker. As the fire was doused, water was sprayed to lower the temperature of the tanker,” said Kottayam Fire Force station officer K.P. Syed Mohammed.

Later, the mechanical wing at the Railway station and officials of the IOC conducted inspections to understand the extent of damage, following which the remaining unaffected tankers were certified to proceed towards Thirunelveli.

The preliminary investigation point towards doubts whether the fire was caused through the electric lines leading to the engine of the train.

Meanwhile, the incident affected the normal train services passing through Kottayam. The Kerala Express that was bound for New Delhi was held at Changanassery for nearly an hour. In addition, the Parasuram Express that was heading towards Thiruvananthapuram was also delayed.

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