July 28, 2013

Fire in trains




Fire in trains !  Here's a lovely old ad dating back to 1964 warning passengers against carrying inflammable articles while travelling by rail, but before you see the ad, here's an incident recounted by Dr. Damania, who by now needs no introduction to regular visitors to this site:

Says the doctor: “I just saw the "Fire in Trains" ad on the first page. I will tell you a story of how dangerous cigarette smoking in trains can be.

“My father had engaged a Gujarati lawyer (Balwantrai?) who helped my father regain possession of his ancestral home in Navsari. This famous Gujarati lawyer was a tall and large gentleman who always wore spotlessly flowing white dhoti, cap and coat. He was also fond of smoking cigarettes. Some years, after winning the case for my father, the lawyer was traveling to Surat in a first class compartment when he tried to throw out the window a burning cigarette stub from the running train. Unfortunately, the cigarette was blown back into the compartment and landed on his dhoti which caught fire! The fire was so sudden and intense and fanned by the wind from the running train that the lawyer's clothes were soon fully engulfed in flames. In a last ditch attempt to extinguish the fire and save himself he jumped out of the running train, but did not survive the fall and died on the spot. This all happened in the 1950s.

“Hence the BB&CI (western Railway) ad is very apt.”

A. B. Damania

Thanks doc, we are often told of the danger of fire in trains, but rarely ever get to hear what possibly happens when someone does not take enough care. This is truly a hair raising episode...