Gas explosion

Country: Mexico  •  Report published: September 27, 2016


Dr. Fernando Román-Morales
Coordinator of Prehospital and Disaster Medicine for the Health Secretariat

Role in incident
Coordinator of Prehospital and Disaster Medicine for the Health Secretariat. At his arrival on scene he tried to stablish a Medical Command Post and worked as the Medical Command Officer.

Mr. Martín Durán-Lara &
Dr. J. Sebastián Espino-Núñez

Summary: Gas explosion

An initial gas leak from a gas tank vehicle caused a gas explosion on the premises of a hospital in the periphery of Mexico City on January 29, 2015. The gas explosion destroyed 70% of the hospital building and an estimated number of 71 persons were injured, 27 of them neonates. Evacuation of injured from the scene was quickly established, but was uncoordinated and ad hoc. Major challenges in the MI management on scene were hazards from biological and infectious residues and radiation from diagnostic equipment, fire and collapsed building structures.  Access to the scene was impaired by traffic, evacuation was done by road and helicopter EMS to nearby hospitals. Allocation of patient to hospitals was not coordinated, and there seems to have been a significant under- and overtriage. Communication between emergency units was challenging because two emergency communication systems were in use, but communication to the public seems to have been adequate with the use of social media and television. Incident command was established approximately 2 hours after the incident, at that point all victims had been evacuated. The major issue to be addressed in the management of the MI is the fragmented emergency care and general health care system in Mexico City and the lack of a unified MI plan and lack of coordination on scene.

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