Monday, 30th October 2017

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Empty school van goes up in flames

A private van, used to ferry students of DAV Public School, Koylanagar, caught fire on Govindpur Road, 4km from campus, on Wednesday afternoon with unconfirmed reports suggesting that it was running on an LPG cylinder instead of petrol.

By Our Correspondent in Dhanbad
  • Published 30.11.17
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FIRE ALARM: The charred school van after it caught fire on Govindpur Road in Dhanbad on Wednesday. (Gautam Dey)

Dhanbad: A private van, used to ferry students of DAV Public School, Koylanagar, caught fire on Govindpur Road, 4km from campus, on Wednesday afternoon with unconfirmed reports suggesting that it was running on an LPG cylinder instead of petrol.

Fortunately, the vehicle was empty and the driver managed to escape unscathed when the incident took place around 2.30pm near a restaurant beside which it was parked following a snag in the morning.

While the driver fled the scene, passers-by informed Saraidhela police station. A fire tender, which was then rushed to the site, took 10 minutes to douse the blaze, but not before the van was charred beyond use.

Deepak Sharma, an eyewitness, said the fire broke out at the rear end and gradually engulfed the whole vehicle. "Luckily, there were no students inside," he added.

Vijay Kumar, president of Dhanbad Zilla School Van Association, said the van belonged to one Muni Lal Rai. "It developed some snag in the morning while ferrying students and was waiting for a mechanic in the afternoon when the driver tried to gun the engine," Kumar said, adding that a short-circuit might have been the trigger.

The association president, however, denied the use of LPG. "None of our 250-plus affiliated vans that ferry students uses cylinders. They all run on petrol. A substitute van ferried the children in the morning following the snag."

Principal of DAV Public School K.C. Srivastava said he had heard about the accident. "It was a private pool van hired by some parents. We have our own fleet of school buses," he said.

Srivastava added that the school had recently sought details of all private vehicles and their drivers who bring children to the campus and take them back home. "We are following orders of the district transport department in the wake of the murder of a student at a Gurgaon School in September."

District transport officer Pankaj Kumar Sao did not answer his calls.

Should periodic safety tests be mandatory for school vans?

Tell ttkhand@abpmail.com