Bad and horrorful Gas explosion shatters Mexico maternity hospital

January 30, 2015 9:02 am

Injured and bleeding, mothers carrying infants fled from a maternity
hospital shattered by a powerful gas explosion, and rescuers swung
sledgehammers to break through fallen concrete in hunt for others who
may have been trapped.
City’s mayor lowered the official death toll to two people after officials had earlier reported seven dead.
“At
the moment we have confirmed that we only have two deaths. One is a
minor and the other a woman,” Mayor Miguel Angel Mancera told a
conference, adding that 66 people were injured.
Thirty-five-year-old
Felicitas Hernandez wept as she frantically questioned people outside
the mostly collapsed building, hoping for word of her month-old baby,
who had been hospitalized since birth with respiratory problems.
“They
wouldn’t let me sleep with him,” said Hernandez, who said she had come
to the city-run Maternity and Children’s Hospital of Cuajimalpa because
she had no money.

The explosion occurred when the tanker was making a routine,
early morning 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 added. “Maybe as many as 10 of us were
able to get out … The rest stayed inside.”
Workers on the truck
yelled: “Call the firefighters, call the firefighters!” said
66-year-old anesthesiologist Agustin Herrera. People started to evacuate
the hospital, and then came the massive explosion that sent up an
enormous fireball and plumes of dust and smoke.
Herrera saw
injured mothers walking out carrying babies. He said there had been nine
babies in the 35-bed hospital’s nursery, one in very serious condition
before the explosion.
“We avoided a much bigger tragedy because
the oxygen tanks are right beside (the area) and they didn’t explode,”
Herrera said. The most affected parts of the hospital were the
neonatology, reception and emergency reception units, he added.
Miguel
Angel Garcia, smoked a cigarette outside Hospital ABC-Santa Fe, trying
to calm his nerves while he waited to see his wife and new baby
daughter, who had been moved there.
Garcia, 22, had been driving a
bus when he heard about the explosion at the hospital where his wife
had given birth to their second child just the day before. He dropped
off his passengers, then his bus and took off for the hospital.
“When
I arrived and saw it in pieces, I thought the worst,” Garcia said. He
waited for an hour before authorities told him his wife and daughter had
been taken to the Santa Fe hospital. A nurse there told him both were
fine, but he hadn’t been allowed to see them yet.
As the day wore on, people arrived to offer diapers and baby formula. There was an hour-long wait to donate blood.

Rescue workers comb through the rubble of a children’s hospital after a gas truck exploded. Photo / AP

Mayor Miguel Angel
Mancera earlier told the Televisa network that at least 54 people were
injured, 22 of them children. Most of the injuries were relatively
minor, he said, many caused by flying glass.
The explosion sent a
column of smoke billowing over the area on the western edge of Mexico’s
capital and television images showed much of the hospital collapsed,
with firefighters trying to extinguish fires.
“The truck must
have had some failure, the hose and that’s what caused the explosion,”
Mancera said. He said that fire continued burning because firefighters
recommended that they allow the truck’s remaining gas to burn off. He
said there was no risk of another explosion.
Ismael Garcia, 27, who lives a block from the hospital, said “there was a super explosion and everything caught on fire.”
Garcia
ran to the hospital and said he and others made their way to the
nursery. “Fortunately, we were able to get eight babies out,” he said.
Rafael
Gonzalez of the Red Cross said one 27-year-old man arrived at the
agency’s hospital with burns over 90 per cent of his body, and he was
transferred to another hospital.
President Enrique Pena Nieto expressed his sadness and support for the victims through his official Twitter account.
The hospital, located in a middle class neighborhood, is next to a school.

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