Gas explosion kills three: Gas hose leaked in hospital kitchen in Mexico City

January 31, 2015 6:03 pm
A gas truck driver and two assistants were arrested yesterday after a
deadly gas explosion levelled part of a maternity hospital in
City, killing at least three people and injuring dozens.
The
blast occurred at about 7am Thursday, local time, with more than 100
people inside Cuajimalpa Maternity and Children’s Hospital – minutes
after a hose burst on a truck supplying gas to the building.

Maria Gaudulupe Hernandez is helped after collapsing near the damaged hospital. Photo / AP
Rescuers
rushed from the rubble with babies in their arms and paramedics hauled
bloodied victims out on stretchers. Two of the men in custody are
hospitalised, and a third, with less serious injuries, was checked at a
hospital.
Rescuers began smashing sledgehammers through fallen concrete hunting for those who might be trapped.
A nurse and a baby died in the blast and a second infant died later, authorities said.

More than 70 people were injured in the blast that caused the collapse of about three-quarters of the hospital.
Mayor
Miguel Angel Mancera said some of the injured were about to be released
from area hospitals, including mothers who suffered injuries shielding
their children with their bodies.
A 25-year-old nurse and a
newborn between 2 and 3 weeks old died at the scene and another infant
died several hours later at another pediatric hospital, said Armando
Ahued, the city’s health secretary.
He said 21 babies had been
injured. Nine of those and seven adults were in serious condition.
Felicitas Hernandez, 35, wept as she frantically questioned people
outside the wrecked building, hoping for word of her month-old baby, who
had been in hospital since birth with respiratory problems.
“They
wouldn’t let me sleep with him,” said Hernandez. Later, authorities
told her to check at another hospital where she reported finding her
baby uninjured.
The explosion occurred when a tanker truck was
making a routine delivery of gas to the hospital kitchen and gas started
to leak. Witnesses said the tanker workers struggled frantically for 15
or 20 minutes to repair the leak while a large cloud of gas formed.
“The
hose broke. The two gas workers tried to stop it, but they were very
nervous. They yelled for people to get out,” said Laura Diaz Pacheco, a
laboratory technician.
“Everyone’s initial reaction was to go inside, away from the gas,” she said.
Workers on the truck yelled: “Call the firefighters, call the firefighters!” said anaesthetist Agustin Herrera.
People
started to evacuate the hospital and then came a devastating explosion
that sent up an enormous fireball and plumes of dust and smoke.
Officials said 110 people were inside the 35-bed hospital when the truck
blew up.
“We avoided a much bigger tragedy because the oxygen tanks right beside [the area] didn’t explode,” Herrera said.
Homes
next to the hospital had broken and cracked windows, and many
neighbours ran to help evacuate victims from the debris, local resident
Carlos Soria Rezendiz said.
The incident prompted tweets from
President Enrique Pena Nieto, to Pope Francis, who wrote: “We are
praying for the victims of the explosion in Cuajimalpa, Mexico.”

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