Bonfire singes 11 kids after chemical container explodes

Eleven children in Kurla sustained burns last evening when a chemical container they had used to light up a bonfire exploded.

Two of the children are said to have sustained severe injuries and are undergoing treatment in Sion hospital.

Playing with fire: The kids recuperate at Bhabha (inset); residents at the spot where the incident occurred yesterday. Pics/Shadab Khan 

The mishap occurred in Acahanak Nagar, LIG colony in Kurla (West). In the evening, the kids, aged between three and 11, lit up the fire using some substances they found near a nullah. According to local resident Haroon Sheikh, a family in the locality had thrown the waste material near the nullah, before moving elsewhere.

Amina Sheikh (11), one of the injured girls, was the first to set the waste on fire, and was soon joined by her playmates, who added bits of paper to the fire. The blaze was soon raging and the kids started enjoying their bonfire.

Suddenly, a small chemical container, containing a substance used to remove rust, exploded, injuring all the children who had gathered around it.

Sheikh said, “I was taking a nap when around 4.30 pm there was a loud sound, followed by loud cries. When I came out I saw that the children were screaming. Many had sustained burns to their face, hands and head. They were in a lot of pain.”

Locals with the help of police rushed the kids to Bhabha hospital. Sheikh’s six-year-old grandson sustained severe injuries. Siblings Raj and Shivangi Pandey sustained 30 per cent burns and are now undergoing treatment in Sion hospital.

Sakib, brother of six-year-old victim Shahina Ansari, said, “My sister was playing with local kids when the blast took place. She received head injuries.”

Dr Mahindra Wadiwala of Bhabha hospital said, “All the 11 kids were brought to our hospital of which six were then transferred to Sion hospital for further treatment. We have five kids, of which all are stable, but required special care owing to their young age. Of the 11, four were boys.”

ACP Prabhakar Satam of Kurla division said, “The kids started a fire after which a chemical container exploded, leading to the blaze. We have taken samples from the spot. After our initial investigations, we will be able to reach a conclusion.”

Ashraf Azmi, the local corporator, said, “I have visited both the hospitals where the kids are admitted. All the kids are in a stable condition and we will help them in every way possible.” 

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