Sunday, 19 March 2017

Experts to examine LPG geyser system at sealed Kurseong hotel after twin deaths in 9 days

Experts will be examining the central LPG geyser system at the Cochrane Place — a hotel in Kurseong that had witnessed two mysterious deaths in a spate of nine days in the hotel rooms.

On March 8, a 15-year-old student Koetsirikunwong of Bangkok was found unconscious in the floor of the washroom with the shower running and was declared "brought dead" when he was taken to the Kurseong hospital. Two of his friends, Archavapong Artaumbauy (14) and Pakin Tsantsirametkakul (14) were also found unconscious in an adjacent room. They, however, survived. Again on March 17, Bikash Bishwakarma, a driver was found lying unconscious in another washroom of the same Hotel. He was rushed to the Kurseong Sub-Divisional Hospital where he was declared "brought dead." Both the post-mortem reports are awaited.

Millennium Post had reported that the cause of the deaths could be the LPG gas geysers. "All the geysers present in the washrooms of the 31 rooms of the hotel are connected to a central LPG geyser system," stated Nijel Chowdhury, operational head of the Hotel. "We have asked Forensic Science Laboratory to inspect. Experts will come to check the gas geyser system. The rooms in which the deaths had occurred have been sealed by the police and the hotel has been shut down," stated Amit P Javalgi, Superintendent of Police, Darjeeling.

In both the incidents, people accompanying the victims had complained of a foul smell of gas followed by breathlessness and dizziness. "Their sickness was caused by unknown gas poisoning probably carbon monoxide. The Thai students responded well to the treatment which included administration of oxygen and fluids," stated Dr P D Bhutia of the private nursing home in Siliguri where the two Thai boys were being treated. A study on "Accidental carbon monoxide poisoning in our houses" published in the Indian Journal of Critical Care Medicine states "Gas geysers run on LPG, the combustion of which leads to generation of carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides. These by-products when enclosed in a small space, can result in serious morbidity and mortality in victims." In the past, there have been many cases of illness in Darjeeling under similar circumstances in hotels using gas geysers. "We will wait for the investigation reports. If it is a case of gas poisoning from the LPG geysers, we will launch a sensitising drive especially in hotels," stated Joyoshi Das Gupta, District Magistrate, Darjeeling.

These by-products when enclosed in a small space, can result in serious morbidity and mortality in victims." In the past, there have been many cases of illness in Darjeeling under similar circumstances in hotels using gas geysers. "We will wait for the investigation reports. If it is a case of gas poisoning from the LPG geysers, we will launch a sensitising drive especially in hotels," stated Joyoshi Das Gupta, District Magistrate, Darjeeling.