Toxic gas leak from sewer line claims three lives in Puducherry

According to authorities, many residents connecting the toilets directly to the sewer line without constructing an intermediate toilet chamber, had potentially contributed to the disaster.
 Selvarani (16), Kamatchi (55) and her mother Sentamarai (80) died after inhaling toxic gas from a sewer line.
Selvarani (16), Kamatchi (55) and her mother Sentamarai (80) died after inhaling toxic gas from a sewer line. (Photo| Special arrangement)

PUDUCHERRY: A tragic incident unfolded at Pudhunagar in the early hours of Tuesday when toxic gas released from an underground sewer line infiltrated homes, resulting in the deaths of two women and a child. Two other residents have been hospitalized.

The deceased, all from 4th Street, Pudhunagar in the Reddiarpalayam area, have been identified as Sentamarai (80), her daughter Kamatchi (55) and neighbour Selvarani (16).

The tragic incident unfolded as Sentamarai fainted when she went to the toilet. Her daughter Kamatshi went to rescue her from the toilet, but she too inhaled the toxic gas and collapsed there. At the same time, Selvarani (16), daughter of Arogya Das, who lives in the next house, also fainted after she inhaled the toxic gas from the sewage pipe in the toilet.

Kamakchi's daughter Bakiyalakshmi (35), and neighbour Rajeshkanna (60 plus), have been hospitalized following the incident. Bakiyalakshmi is in the intensive care unit of the government general hospital, while Rajeshkanna, is being treated at Indira Gandhi Medical College.

Following the tragic incident, local authorities, led by District Collector A. Kulothungan, evacuated residents from the area. Around 40 families reside in the 4th Street of Pudhunagar area. Residents were advised to wear masks as PWD workers commenced repair works on the underground sewerage system. The PWD is investigating the sewer line for blockages that might have caused the gas release.

Residents of the Pudhunagar area seen wearing masks after a toxic gas leak from sewer line caused three deaths.
Residents of the Pudhunagar area seen wearing masks after a toxic gas leak from sewer line caused three deaths.(Photo| Sriram R)

Officials from the Public Works Department (PWD), Uzhavarkarai Municipality, and the Health Department were present to manage the situation.

A medical team, including doctors and nurses, conducted house-to-house visits to check on residents' health. Some individuals reported feeling dizzy, and two were subsequently hospitalized, Director of Health and Family Welfare, Dr. G. Sriramulu confirmed.

Chief Minister N. Rangasamy and PWD Minister K. Lakshminarayanan visited the site to oversee the situation. Minister Lakshminarayanan pointed out that many residents had connected their toilets directly to the sewer line without constructing an intermediate toilet chamber, potentially contributing to the disaster.

An investigation is underway to determine the exact cause of the deaths and the toxic gas leak.

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