The Delhi-Attari special train passed at least two railway crossings before coming to a halt following the blasts on two compartments.
Investigators said a railway worker identified as Pawan first noticed the fire as the train was passing gate number 47 at Deewana, Haryana. He immediately informed the stationmaster about the fire. The stationmaster alerted the worker at gate number 49, asking him to stop the train there.
Soon after, a six-member escort party, which had been divided into 3 teams, swung into action, rescuing the people trapped in the burning coaches. Nine bodies were recovered from the coach five.
Passengers in coach number four bore the brunt of the fire as they were unable to open the doors of their compartment, owing to chaos and panic. 56 bodies were recovered from the coach.
One of the rescuers, assistant sub inspector Kashmir Singh, was badly injured and succumbed to his injuries on his way to the hospital. Tarsem Lal, head constable in the escorting party, was also seriously injured.
The passengers of the last three coaches were shifted to the compartments in the front before the train left for its destination in Attari at 2:50 am. Police officers said that the fire could have spread by explosive chemical-filled bottles that would have been ignited and left to burn.