Container truck fire holds up Katraj tunnel traffic

Traffic through the new Katraj tunnel on the Mumbai-Bangalore highway was blocked for more than an hour after a small container carrying liquor and cosmetics caught fire on Thursday afternoon.

Fire brigade said a small container vehicle owned by Gajanan Roadways, Mumbai, was on its way to Satara when the engine suddenly caught fire in the middle of the tunnel shortly after 4pm. Fire station officer Prabhakar Umratkar who attended the call said, "Prima facie, a short circuit or a spark in the engine is the cause of the fire. As the fire started spreading to the driver's cabin, the driver stopped the vehicle and he and the cleaner jumped out."

Umratkar added, "Through a small window to the cabin, the fire spread to the area where cosmetics, liquor and other boxes were kept. Some of this had caught fire by the time we reached the place. We brought the fire under control within five minutes. Both the driver and cleaner suffered injuries. Traffic was stopped by the police and the tunnel was blocked for more than an hour."

Inspector Namdev Kauthale of Haveli police station said, "The traffic was stopped for the fire brigade operation and safety. We are also checking whether the goods that caught fire were being transported with proper permit."

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