BBMP office fire: Victims shifted to Victoria burns ward

Three of the nine patients suffered severe burns and all patients have 30-40 per cent severe burns.

Published: 12th August 2023 12:08 PM  |   Last Updated: 12th August 2023 12:09 PM   |  A+A-

People and Fire and Emergency Services personnel gather outside the quality control cell at BBMP office where a fire broke out on Friday evening. (Photo | Express)

Express News Service

BENGALURU: The chemical fumes and fire which erupted at the quality control cell of the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) head office, left the victim’s bodies blackened and led to major burns on their faces, hands and legs.  Shanthala, a close friend of one of the victims, Vijayamala, met her at the burns ward. “She suffered facial burns but her condition is stable now. She gained consciousness after some time but did not talk about what actually led to the eruption,” she said. 

Officials, families and acquaintances of the victims gathered at the burns ward of Victoria Hospital soon after they were shifted there. Another group of BBMP officials waiting outside the ward said they managed to meet their colleagues who were in stable condition. 

The fire at the BBMP office initially spread chaos in the emergency ward of nearby St Martha’s Hospital, and later the victims were transferred to Victoria Hospital due to the non-availability of a burns ward at Martha’s. 

Doctors at the casualty ward at Martha’s, who treated the patients first, said, “We are unaware of the exact cause of the injuries, and all patients had suffered varying severity of burns. They were transferred to Victoria since we do not specialise in treating burns patients. We provided them with basic first aid, pain relief injections and medicines,” a doctor said.

Three of the nine patients suffered severe burns and all patients have 30-40 per cent severe burns, said Dr Ramesh TK, head of the burns ward. Inhalation of benzene fumes also resulted in inhalation burns, making them more prone to infection.

Doctors explained that inhaling benzene could result in inflammation of the lungs and cause pulmonary edema. The lung tissue can get swollen due to the chemicals. Hence, all patients were kept under observation and lung profiling and necessary treatment was being done, doctors said. One of the victims was a dialysis patient who was transferred to the trauma care centre at Victoria Hospital. 

Eyewitness account

Kamalamma, who had come to the Palike office for some work, said, “I noticed a staff member coming out of the Quality Control Cell with some kind of dark solution. He poured it outside and within seconds, thick smoke and flames were noticed from the building. Soon drivers and others came and removed the bikes parked near the office. The staff were screaming and running outside. Seeing them in pain, people put mud and sand on them to put off the fire. Later, fire tenders and an ambulance arrived.”

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