Pakistan train fire

This item appears on page 21 of the December 2019 issue.

In Pakistan, at least 74 people were killed on Oct. 31 when a fire broke out on a passenger train traveling from Karachi, in the south, to Rawalpindi, in the far north. An additional 40 people were injured. Officials reported that at least some passengers were killed when they jumped from the burning carriages while the train was still in motion.

The fire was caused by the explosion of a passenger’s cooking gas canister being used to make breakfast, and it quickly spread to two other carriages before the train stopped. Cooking gas canisters are banned from trains in Pakistan, but passengers said that the ban is often overlooked and cooking on board is a regular occurrence on longer journeys. The Karachi-to-Rawalpindi route takes more than 25 hours to complete.