Three children and two adults died due to a fierce fire generated in their apartment, in Barrio Norte, while another 31 people had to be treated medically for injuries and poisoning caused by the flames and smoke. The incident, which could have started with the explosion of an electric skateboard battery, occurred on the seventh floor of a building located in Córdoba and Ecuador. Eight fire crews and 22 SAME ambulances worked at the scene. Tonight, 17 people remain hospitalized.

The victims were members of the Jabbaz family: a 51-year-old woman and a 19-year-old woman, a 9-year-old girl and two boys ages 3 and 8. The father of the family, Isaac, 55, was admitted to the therapy area intensive care of the Rivadavia Hospital and last night he had been transferred to the Finochietto Sanatorium, located in front of the building of the tragedy. Due to the injuries and the smoke, he required mechanical ventilation and suffered burns to his face. Another member of the family, a 23-year-old man, was stable, with “oxygen therapy treatment” in a hyperbaric chamber, because he inhaled smoke.

The fire started at 5.50, for reasons that are being investigated. Sources of the investigation advanced that they would have started due to “the sudden thermal reaction of lithium batteries belonging to an electric skateboard scooter, allegedly induced by overload or excessive discharges, hits in cells or exposure to heat sources, whose thermal potential was transmitted to elements capable of burning.

The flames started on the seventh floor, when the family was sleeping, and quickly spread to the upper floor, so all the occupants of the 14 floors had to be evacuated and rescued.

Noemí, a neighbor on the sixth floor, said that she woke up “with the debris falling from the seventh floor”, where “a family of 11 people” lived. “I met the father of the family, who asked for help. He grabbed the fire extinguisher from the stairs but could not re-enter the apartment because it was on fire,” the woman said.

“A little before 6 in the morning I began to hear shouts that said: ‘fire, I’m from the seventh, call the firemen, get out because it’s on fire,'” said Antonio, one of the neighbors who lives on the fifth floor. “I dressed with what I could and ran down. After a while, the Fire Department, the Police and the SAME fell. Everything was on fire here. The father and one of the daughters were sitting there. A couple lives there with many children. The father with one of the girls to ask for help. The father had a black face,” the man recalled.

“The five people were rescued by personnel from the City Fire Department alive and unconscious, given the tasks that were carried out in the first instance. They were handed over to SAME medical personnel, but unfortunately later they arrived dead” at the hospitals, reported Subcomandante Pablo Giardina, who led the operation.

In the preliminary observations, “there is nothing electrical or gas that has exploded” in the Jabbaz family’s apartment, explained prosecutor Sebastián Fedullo, who requested the studies to determine the origin of the flames. “From what fire personnel tell us, it would have been something accidental, there is no sign of violence on the property,” he reported.

The head of the Recoleta Fire Station of the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires, Juan Carlos Giordano, stated that the fire did not generate structural risks in the fire building. “Until now, the expert part (of the Fire Department) is carrying out its specific tasks. It is trying to determine what the causes of the incident were,” Giordano explained. In this framework, he specified that, “so far, an inspection of the entire structure has been carried out by the personnel of the City Government’s emergency guard, who have already said that there was no risk of either the affected departments or the from the rest of the building.

In addition to the two women and three children who died, “31 people were referred to public hospitals, detailed the Buenos Aires Minister of Health, Fernán Quirós. The official informed that nine of these people were transferred to Hospital Fernández, 9 to Ramos Mejía, 7 to Gutiérrez, 2 to Elizalde, 2 to Rivadavia and 2 to Durand. In addition, the three members of the City Police who were the first to arrive at the scene and were in charge of evacuating the residents were transferred to Ramos Mejía due to smoke inhalation. At the Gutiérrez Hospital, the three Jabbaz children were “received by the guard” and “they tried to resuscitate them, but it was too late,” reported a nurse at the facility.

Minister Quirós went to the Fernández Hospital to offer his condolences to the families of the victims and learn about the state of health of the people who were referred there. Meanwhile, the head of the Buenos Aires Government, Horacio Rodríguez Larreta, approached the building where the incident occurred and spoke on the spot with leaders of the Jewish community, and thanked “the professionalism and commitment” of the firefighters and SAME personnel. who participated in the operation. For her part, the spokeswoman for the Presidency, Gabriela Cerruti, expressed “the desolation of the national government in the face of the fire” and sent “condolences to the families of the victims”, while promising collaboration “with everything that is necessary with the City Government and families to get out of this tragic situation.

For its part, the AMIA, “with deep regret,” expressed its condolences “to the loved ones of the people who died in the terrible fire this morning, in the building on Ecuador Street.” The authorities of the entity, in addition, and wished “the speedy recovery of those injured in this tragedy that saddens the entire society.”

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Varun Kumar

Varun Kumar is a freelance writer working on news website. He contributes to Our Blog and more. Wise also works in higher ed sustainability and previously in stream restoration. He loves running, trees and hanging out with her family.