The burnt parts of the air-conditioned unit and sockets in the ill-fated coach of the Bangalore-Nanded Express would be crucial for the forensic experts to zero-in on the actual cause of fire that killed 26 passengers in the early hours of Saturday.

A team led by Andhra Pradesh Forensic Science Laboratory (APFSL) Director A. Sharada rushed to the site to investigate what caused the accident and identify the bodies after conducting DNA profiling. “We will examine the coach inch by inch, starting from the AC unit abutting the entrance and the sockets. We will also collect burnt remnants under the seats for possible clues,” she explained.

The team would look for flammable substances beneath the train. “It’s too early to come to a conclusion on the exact reason for the incident,” she said. “After completing sample collection, we will be able to establish the cause of the fire.” The team is also holding a series of meetings with district police officials, firemen and railway authorities who reached the spot.

The focus is also on identifying the bodies with the help of district officials. “Before going to the accident spot, we asked the authorities concerned to collect tissues from the charred bodies for DNA profiling,” she said. FSL personnel would collect samples from family members to match them with the collected tissues.

A few bodies were sent to Bangalore while some were handed over to relatives after identifying them. “It’s a lengthy process, but we will try to coordinate with other officials and complete it at the earliest,” the APFSL Director said. Referring to reports that the lab was facing shortage of DNA kits, she said, “We are using the available kits sparingly.”