ONE DEAD AS BOOTLEG VODKA SETS RAILCAR AFIRE IN BELARUS

ONE DEAD AS BOOTLEG VODKA SETS RAILCAR AFIRE IN BELARUS

A man transporting bootleg vodka by train for sale in Poland accidentally set his cargo on fire, starting a blaze that killed another passenger and injured dozens, Belarus' transport minister said on Tuesday.

Alexander Lukashov said the man was carrying two 5-gallon drums of methylated spirits and 100 bottles of low-quality Ukrainian vodka on Monday aboard a train bound for Brest, on Belarus' border with Poland."He was drinking the vodka and smoking and when other passengers warned him it was dangerous, he threw a match into one of the drums in anger," Mr. Lukashov said.

The railcar went up in flames. A 20-year-old woman died in the fire. Another woman was not expected to survive her burns, and dozens of other passengers were hurt.

Russian television said firefighters only just managed to prevent the flames from spreading to other cars.

People in former Soviet republics find it profitable to transport goods for resale in Poland, often cheap liquor rebottled with false labels.

A Belarussian Interior Ministry spokesman, Sergei Khripach, said four people had died in the past month after drinking adulterated Ukrainian vodka, and he urged Ukrainian customs to step up border checks.