There was panic at the railway station here on Tuesday after an emergency medical tool van went up in flames. Passengers, suspecting that it was a bomb blast, ran helter-skelter. The government railway police and the Railway Protection Force acted promptly and averted a stampede.

According to A. Siva Suryanarayana, in-charge fire officer, two fire tenders were rushed to the station on receipt of information at 12.05 p.m. and it took three hours to bring the fire under control.

According to railway sources, the van, stationed next to platform No. 3 ,suddenly caught fire around 11.30 a.m.

Vijayawada Divisional Railway Manager Pradeep Kumar rushed to the spot in the afternoon and ordered an inquiry. Officials, who said the fire was caused by short circuit, put the loss at Rs.2 crore.