False fire alarm on moving local injures woman, daughter

An elderly woman and her daughter were injured in a rout on Sunday evening, after commuters aboard a moving CST-Ambernath local thought it was on fire, and began evacuating frantically, even as the train had begun moving from Kopar railway station. 

Smoke without fire: Sunita Chandane (64) and daughter Dipti Shetye (44) fell onto the platform from a moving train as passengers tried to jump off, assuming that it had caught fire. Pics/Shrikant Khuperkar

Passengers panicked after seeing smoke emanating from under the compartments, and started jumping off. In the ensuing chaos, 64-year-old Sunita Anant Chandane and daughter Dipti Dilip Shetye (44) were pushed onto the platform among others. While Chandane suffered a fracture to her left foot, Shetye fractured her left arm. Two of their relatives managed to escape with minor injuries.

All smoke
At 7:45 pm on Sunday, as a packed local arrived at Kopar, passengers noticed clouds of smoke emanating from under the train. Some said they had noticed puffs of smoke since the train departed from Thakurli, but assumed it was harmless. Only when the train crossed Dombivli station did the smoke start to intensify, sparking fears of a blaze.

Railway authorities took the two women to Shastri Nagar General Hospital at the Kalyan Dombivli Municipal Corporation, but they were informed that there was no provision for treating fractures at the hospital. They were suggested Thane Civil Hospital, over 20 km away. But their family, unwilling to risk the delay, decided to take them to a private hospital, Gokhale Nursing Home in Dombivli (E).

“We were getting ready to alight at the next stop, Diva, so we were standing near the footboard. After seeing the smoke, passengers started pushing through to get off the train. By the time I had reached the exit, the train began to move. I lost my balance and fell out. There was a large gap between the height of the footboard and the platform,” Shetye said. She continued, “A doctor from Kalyan railway hospital visited us at Gokhale hospital, and gave us Rs 10,000 for our treatment, but that is still not enough.” 

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