The fire accident in the AC 3-tier coach of the Bangalore-Nanded Express that killed 26 persons on December 28 last year may have been caused by the negligence of unidentified passengers or persons, the Commissioner of Railway Safety (CRS) Southern Region has concluded.
In the provisional findings by CRS Satish Kumar Mittal, which were released on Wednesday, he said, “Upon careful consideration of the factual, material and circumstantial evidence available with me, I have come to [the] conclusion that the fire in AC-3 tier coach (No. 97105) of train number 16594 between Sri Satya Sai Prashanti Nilayam-Basampalli stations was most probably caused by advertent act or negligence on [the] part of unidentified passenger/s or person/s.”
He classified the accident under the category of “Error in working near Railway Line.”
The report also quotes the findings of the Andhra Pradesh Forensic Science Laboratory (APFSL) that says no signs of explosion effect were found in the burnt coach. The APFSL’s report of January 3, 2014, also says that the pattern of fire signature was slow and progressive, indicating absence of inflammable substances and sabotage as cause of fire.
The laboratory had taken 81 test samples from the ill-fated coach.
While short circuit in the AC system was initially believed to have ignited the fire, the CRS findings do not support it.
Mr. Mittal’s report, in particular, cites the excessive burning mark near berth no. 7 up to floor level, heat black mark on the bogie bolster near seat no. 7 and charred wood pieces found on the bolster.
The provisional findings of the CRS has been submitted to the Chief Commissioner of Railway Safety, Lucknow, Secretary (Safety), Railway Board, and General Manager of South Western Railways.