More than 30 people, including an Sub District Magistrate (SDM) and a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), were hospitalised on Tuesday after they took ill following a chlorine gas leak from a cylinder at a scrap godown in a busy residential area in Uttarakhand’s Udham Singh Nagar district.
The SDM and DSP had gone to the spot to launch rescue operations, police said, adding that so far 34 people have been hospitalized after they complained of burning sensation in the eyes, nausea, and difficulty in breathing.
Some of the victims had even begun to faint, they said.
The incident took place early in the morning in the busy Azad Nagar Transit Camp area of Rudrapur. People began to faint and scamper about in panic as the toxic gas began to leak, officials said.
Senior administrative and police officials with fire tenders, ambulances, and an SDRF team rushed to the spot and launched rescue operations.
The affected people were administered oxygen inside ambulance, the officials said.
While trying to move the leaking cylinder away, SDM Kaustubh Mishra and DSP Ashish Bhardwaj also fell ill, they said, adding some firemen also started feeling dizzy and began to vomit. The leaking cylinder was later thrown into an open field and disposed of to prevent the situation from going worse, police said.
Of 34 people who have been hospitalized, nine, including the SDM and the DSP, were admitted to the ICU of a hospital.
District Magistrate Yugal Kishore Pant and SSP Manjunath TC later visited the hospital to enquire about the condition of those admitted.
The SSP said all of them are now out of danger and will soon be discharged from hospital. It is yet to be found out how the chlorine gas cylinder found its way to the scrap dealer’s godown in a busy area and what led to the gas leak, the district magistrate said. A campaign will soon be launched to ensure that banned gas cylinders don’t reach residential areas, Pant said.
The DM also ordered that a case be registered against the scrap dealer, and the rodents that died inside his godown due to the gas leak should be sent for testing to the Indian Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI), Bareilly.
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