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6 die after inhaling toxic gas inside septic tank in Jharkhand’s Deoghar

Six men died after inhaling toxic gases inside an under construction septic tank in Jharkhand’s Deoghar district on Sunday, officials said.

The dead have been identified as Brajesh Chandra Barnwal, 50, Mithilesh Chandra Burnwal, 40, Govind Manjhi, 50, Bablu Manjhi, 30, Lalu Manjhi, 25, and Leelu Murmu, 30. The accident took place at Devipur market area under Devipur police station where Barnwal had constructed a new septic chamber, about 20 feet deep and 7 feet wide.

“All the six people were rushed to the Sadar Hospital but they were declared brought dead by doctors. Prima facie, it seems that they died of suffocation due to possible accumulation of lethal gases such as carbon dioxide or monoxide in the septic tank,” Kamleshwar Prasad Singh, Deoghar’s deputy commissioner (DC), said.

Construction labourer Leelu Murmu was the first to go inside the chamber after removing the tank cover as per the scheduled work.

“The casting of the tank was completed around a fortnight ago. On Sunday, centering materials were to be removed from inside the tank,” Manish Kumar, a neighbour of Barnwal, said.

“However, neither any sound of removing centering material was coming nor he was replying to anything. To check on the labourer, the contractor of the septic tank, Govind Manjhi, entered the tank but he also did not come out. One by one, Govind’s two sons Bablu and Lalu went inside the tank but they also did not come up,” Kumar said.

Barnwal entered the tank when the four men did not respond and he too did not come out, Kumar said. “In a bid to rescue his elder brother and the other four people, Mithilesh went into the tank but he met the similar fate,” Kumar said, adding they immediately informed the administration and brought an excavator to destroy the tank to rescue the men.

Sunil Kumar, the circle officer (CO) of Devipur, said when the tank was broken all six the men were found lying on the ground unconscious. “They were immediately rushed to Sadar hospital where they were declared brought dead,” he said.

The official also said that the autopsy of the bodies was being conducted. “After the postmortem, the actual reason of the deaths could be ascertained,” he said.

Kumar said they would try for a widow pension for Barnwal’s and the wives of other men and Rs 20,000 to the labourer. “Besides, 10kg of food grain would be provided to the victims’ families,” he said.

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