At least 13 workers fell sick after inhaling toxic gas at Carriage and Wagon Workshop of Bangladesh Railway at Pahartali in Chattogram yesterday.
They were admitted to Bangladesh Railway Hospital in CRB area. Later, eight of them were transferred to the burn unit of Chittagong Medical College Hospital, informed Md Sohel, stenographer to the divisional medical officer of railway.
FM Mohiuddin, divisional superintendent at the workshop, told The Daily Star that some workers were dismantling parts of a power car at the workshop's Carriage Heavy Repair shop around 10:30am. Suddenly, gas leaked out from a pipeline and a fire broke out, he added.
“Other workers rushed there with fire extinguishers. They too fell sick after inhaling toxic gas while dousing the blaze,” he said.
Dr Rafiq Uddin Ahmed, assistant professor at CMCH burn unit, said the workers inhaled excessive carbon dioxide. “Though there is no sign of external burn injuries, patients are not out of danger yet. They are being given oxygen therapy and kept under observation,” said the doctor.
Meanwhile, officials of Fire Service and Civil Defence alleged that the incident took place due to an unsafe work environment at the workshop. Moreover, the workers did not have any protective gear on while extinguishing the fire, said Jashim Uddin, deputy assistant director of the department.
Asked, workshop superintendent Mohiuddin said they had provided necessary safety gears to the workers but they were reluctant to use those.