Lack of ventilation after fumigation may have caused 8-year-old’s death in Bengaluru

Vinod Kumar, an MBA graduate, his wife Nisha and Ahaana left Bengaluru on July 29, for their hometown in Kerala after their house owner informed them that painting and pest control would be done.
 Silhouette of a girl
Silhouette of a girl
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A fumigated house turned out to be a toxic gas chamber for an 8-year-old girl, who developed complications shortly after entering it and passed away in the hospital on August 2 at Vasanth Nagar in Bengaluru. Doctors suspect that the family could have inhaled toxic fumes left behind by tick pesticides used for cleaning. It is also suspected that pesticides used for pest control contaminated the water used to make coffee. The owner of the house has been taken into custody for causing death by negligence as the rooms were not ventilated properly after the cleaning.

The family left Bengaluru on Friday, July 29, for their hometown of Kannur in Kerala after their house owner informed them that painting and pest control would be done. Vinod Kumar, an MBA graduate working for a corporate firm in Bengaluru, complained to the house owner, Shivaprasad about the infestation of bugs and cockroaches at the apartment. To get rid of the insects, the owner agreed to spray insecticides and asked them to vacate.

Following pest control, the men on the job had closed all ventilation points. "The ventilation in the house was blocked, and even the keyholes were filled with tiny pieces of paper. Doctors told us that it could not have been just because of house cleaning, the cleaners used in such procedures are more or less safe. Doctors told us they suspect the house owner must have combined some other chemicals for better cleaning," a family member told TNM. It's unclear whether the family was told to open the doors and windows before moving in. The building had three floors, while the owner lived on the ground floor, Vinod’s family lived on the third floor. “We have not heard of anyone else facing any trouble there. But the, this house was kept locked for three days, and maybe the toxic fumes were not aired out,” a relative said,

Vinod Kumar, his wife Nisha, and their daughter Ahaana arrived in the city at 5:30 a.m. on August 1. "The family slept until 7:30 a.m., then made coffee with the water that was already in the house. The mother and daughter drank the coffee and they then went back to sleep. After a while, due to breathing difficulties, all three of them woke up and called an ambulance," their relative said.

After experiencing breathing difficulties, the parents and child were rushed to Bhagwan Mahaveer Jain Hospital in Vasanth Nagar.

Because the hospital was only a few kilometers away, the ambulance arrived as soon as the family called around 11.30 a.m. The ambulance took Vinod and Ahaana to the hospital in the first round, then returned to the house and took Nisha in the second round. Around 1.30 p.m on August 2, the child passed away.

A relative told TNM that the child’s body had been sent for post mortem. “The parents are out of the ICU and in normal hospital rooms. After the post mortem is done, the child’s body will be taken to Kannur for the funeral,” the relative said.

According to the police, the owner bought a cleaner from the shop and used it. It is commonly used to control bollworms, caterpillars, leafminers, and other insects in cotton, paddy, oilseeds, and other plantation crops, TOI reported.

The police have taken chemical samples from the house and sent them for testing. The house owner is in police custody for questioning. Based on a complaint from Vinod's relative, the owner of the house has been charged under Section 304A of the Indian Penal Code with causing death by negligence. The child's body was sent for post-mortem examination, and the High Grounds Police Station is investigating which pesticide was used.

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