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Mumbai: 80-yr-old COPD patient at BYL Nair, two at KEM struggle to breathe

Updated on: 24 November,2023 05:37 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Eshan Kalyanikar |

Passage of the decade-old building is now covered in soot after its electric meter cabin caught fire at around 3.30 am

Mumbai: 80-yr-old COPD patient at BYL Nair, two at KEM struggle to breathe

Abdul Razak, 80, battling COPD, is admitted to Nair hospital after facing breathing difficulties (right) Parvatabai Tambole, 85, 12th floor resident was carried to safety

Eighty-year-old Abdul Razak has been battling Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) for the past few years. On Wednesday night, his wife and son feared they might lose him to the black smoke that had enveloped their home. The passage of this decade-old building is now covered in soot after its electric meter cabin caught fire at around 3.30 am. The fire was contained within the electrical wiring but spread from the first floor to the 24th floor.

The smoke had reached all 24 floors in the building, with many, like the Razak family, unable to see their surroundings. Fortunately, emergency services arrived promptly. Abdul's wife, Sultana, recalled how doctors immediately attended to the affected residents. "I started vomiting, and the substance was black. We were quickly put on oxygen."

Most residents were asleep when the fire broke out and rushed to the terrace in an attempt to save themselves. Nine individuals were taken to KEM hospital, Abdul was admitted to BYL Nair hospital, and another 48-year-old, Savita (also known as Shruti) Karawade, was transported to JJ hospital. Despite complaints of breathing difficulties, most, including Karawade, left against medical advice later that day.

Although Abdul's condition is stable, he remains on oxygen support in Nair's ward no. 22 due to excessive carbon dioxide accumulation. Doctors attending to him mentioned that the smoke has aggravated his COPD. "He is frequently urinating due to medications preventing fluid accumulation in his lungs," a doctor said.

Imran, Abdul's son, described bringing his father down with the help of a neighbour. "We carried a chair and rested at intervals; this continued until the fifth floor, where police officers assisted us to safety," he said. Imran mentioned that the fire brigade declined help, citing exhaustion from the prolonged rescue operation. However, fire officials refuted this claim. "While they might have been fatigued, the team visited every floor and ensured everyone's safety," stated ADFO Vishnu Sangle.

Parvatabai Tambole, an 85-year-old resident on the 12th floor, recalled being carried to safety by fire brigade officials. "My knee was injured during the process, but I'm grateful to be safe now," she mentioned. Seven individuals were in her house during the fire. Although everyone else from the Tambole household is safe, Parvatabai and her daughter-in-law Lata decided to remain at KEM hospital until further medical advice.

"I've been experiencing slight difficulty in breathing and chest pain," shared Parvatabai. Lata reported experiencing similar symptoms. Doctors at the hospital sent Lata's son, Pranay, to ophthalmology after observing redness in his eyes. "Apart from that, he's fine and didn't require admission," said his brother, Rahul. He added that the remaining six residents who were at KEM chose discharge either for private treatment or because they felt they didn't require medical attention. Dr Pravin Bangar, KEM's medical officer, confirmed that only two out of the nine individuals who arrived in the morning are currently admitted. 

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