One dead in fire-extinguishing accident at Russian bank

25th August 2010, Comments 0 comments

One person suffocated to death on Wednesday and a dozen suffered gas poisoning when an automatic fire-extinguishing system activated at a bank in the Moscow region, filling the air with carbonic gas.

The Moscow region branch of the emergencies ministry said in a statement that 75 people were in the bank, a branch of a Russian savings bank, in the town of Podolsk in the Moscow region at the time of the incident.

"As a result of poisoning from carbon dioxide gas, one person died and 13 were hurt. Of these six have been hospitalised," it said in a statement on its website.

The RIA Novosti news agency said five of those hospitalised were in critical condition.

It said investigators were unable to gain access to the bank as its doors has closed automatically when the system activated.

"People may still remain on the premises," an official from the investigative committee of prosecutors for the Moscow region told the news agency.

Carbon dioxide is used in some fire suppressant systems to end fires by replacing oxygen in the air. However, the gas is lethal if inhaled in high concentrations for a period of a minute or longer.

© 2010 AFP

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