Meet the people who acted in the nick of time to save lives and avert further disaster when the Mumbai-Dehradun Express caught fire yesterday
Jawahar Singh, gateman
This gateman is the first person who saw the burning train that was zipping at 100 kmph or so. He was standing at level crossing gate number 60 when he saw the fire inside the coach. Soon after, he informed the stationmaster at Gholwad station.
Sriram Prasad, Gholwad stationmaster
This stationmaster wasted no time in informing the local fire brigade, police station and railway control room as soon as he got information. He, along with other staff and locals, also ran to the spot, which was more than 1.5 km away, with fire extinguishers in hand. The power cables were also disconnected to prevent any further tragedy. They, with the help of fellow passengers, locals and others, removed victims caught in the fire. The victims were already dead by then. The bodies were sent to the Cottage Civic Hospital in Dahanu and a local hospital in Gholwad. “I immediately contacted the control room to apprise them about the situation. We tried our best to reach the spot on foot,” said Prasad.
Mehul Bhanushali, passenger
He is a friend of Upadhyay (right) who was travelling in the same coach (S4) and was sleeping in the lower berth. As soon as he heard the commotion, he pulled the emergency chain to alert the driver and guard. Gradually, he also helped people around him and was lucky enough to escape. “If I had stayed even couple of minutes more, then I too might have been dead. I didn’t even realise that Dev Shankar hadn’t come out. I thought he was right behind me,” said Bhanushali.
Vilas G, local auto rickshaw driver
This auto driver from Gholwad was running around since 3.45 am, along with other locals there. They ensured that there were enough auto rickshaws, four-wheelers and ambulances near the station to take them to the local hospital. “Initially we thought there was some problem near the station. Then we saw that the train was burning and passengers inside were running frantically. We immediately ran with water and did whatever was possible to save them,” he told this correspondent.
Dev Shankar Upadhyay, passenger
This 48-year-old fell victim to the inferno. He was sleeping on the lower berth of coach S4, when he heard people screaming and running from the neighbouring S3 coach. As soon as he saw this, he began waking up fellow passengers around him and also ran towards the affected coach to save others. His relatives know him as someone who went to any extent to help people around. “For the last one year, he had been travelling to Surat for work in a bid to expand his business. He owned a grocery store,” said a relative of Upadhyay, who hailed from Rajasthan.