In the third such mishap within a month, two brothers died and their father was injured after they inhaled ‘toxic gases’ emanating from a sewage tank inside the basement of a mall in Anand Vihar, Saturday. The three had entered the clogged sewage tank and were rendered unconscious, police said. A fireman who tried to rescue the three lost balance and slipped, injuring his head.
The brothers, Jahangir (24) and Izaz (22), lost consciousness right after they entered the tank in the basement of Aggarwal Fun City Mall, police said. Seeing his sons fall face down into the tank, their father, Yusuf (50), climbed down to rescue them, only to fall on his knees after inhaling the fumes.
By the time firemen rescued the three, Jahangir was dead. Izaz died on his way to Dr Hedgewar Aarogya Sansthan, while doctors have kept Yusuf under observation, police said. The fireman, H C Mahipal, sustained minor cuts.
The family, which used to clean garbage in Anand Vihar, had been roped in by mall authorities on previous occasions as well. “When we enquired, we found that it was a routine check. The family has been doing this for several years, but appropriate safety gear should have been given to them,” Sub-Divisional Magistrate (Vivek Vihar) Harminder Singh said.
On Saturday afternoon, the family arrived with a cart and entered the tank located at the ‘minus two basement’. The tank is located inside a room where the mall’s garbage is collected.
“The family would come to the mall every few months to clean the tank after waste would start to overflow. They would clean the tank without safety equipment. One of the boys went inside and collapsed, after which his brother entered to rescue him. I don’t know how they managed to enter the tank in the first place; it is impossible for anyone to breathe,” said Attar Singh, an eyewitness.
Mall staff, including parking attendants and carpenters, rushed to the tank following the incident. “Their eyes had turned red and their skin started to turn chalk white. The father was shaking his hand and mumbling under his breath. We could not make out what he was saying, but he was definitely crying for help,” said Shiva, a mall staffer.
Around 15 firemen eventually arrived and pulled them out.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (Shahdara) Nupur Prasad said a case under IPC Section 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) has been registered against the mall management.
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