At least 20 persons were rescued

Firefighters played a stellar role in saving the lives of many passengers of an AC coach of the Bangalore-Nanded Express, where a fire killed 26 people, and in containing the situation at the earliest.

Speaking to The Hindu, S. Krishna Naik, a constable with the Fire Safety Department who fainted towards the end of the operation, said the firemen reached the site in just 10 minutes.

“We could see around forty people in the coach desperately trying to make their way out, and while two of us pushed through in spite of the flames, the rest helped the passengers break the windows and come out,” he said.

The effort of the fire servicemen would have saved at least 20 lives.

As the fire was put out, the smoke poured out, disrupting rescue for a while even as Mr. Krishna Naik fainted. He was dragged out by one of his colleagues.

President Pranab Mukherjee’s recent visit to Anantapur also seems to have helped the firefighters: an advanced firefighting vehicle, which had been brought to the city, was also pressed into service.

Meanwhile, Collector D. S. Lokesh Kumar and DIG B. Bala Krishna, who reached the spot by around 6 a.m., stayed on till the end of the day, coordinating and supervising the rescue efforts.

DPRO P. Thimmappa, Kadiri RDO Rajasekhar and Joint Collector Sathyanarayana helped in speeding up the rescue efforts.