She Was Trapped Amid the Grenfell Blaze—and Cyanide

BBC confirms one survivor suffered cyanide poisoning
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 13, 2017 6:53 AM CDT
She Was Trapped Amid the Grenfell Blaze—and Cyanide
In this photo taken July 7, 2017, the fire damaged Grenfell Tower is seen from a Hammersmith & City Underground train in London.   (AP Photo/Harry Hamburg)

Luana Gomes spent six days in a medically induced coma after being caught in London's Grenfell Tower fire. And while she survived, smoke inhalation wasn't all the 12-year-old was treated for. The BBC obtained her discharge record, which shows she suffered cyanide poisoning in the blaze—the first confirmation of such a diagnosis—and was treated with two doses of the antidote hydroxycobalamine. Her sister and mother also received the antidote though they weren't diagnosed with the poisoning.

The BBC's environment correspondent labels cyanide poisoning as "relatively common following house fires" due to how commonly it's used to make plastics. Beyond plastics, the Guardian looks at the tower's Celotex RS5000 insulation, which was sandwiched between the building and the cladding, and notes that when burned it produces hydrogen cyanide. The family's suffering wasn't limited to their medical woes: Mother Andreia Gomes was seven months pregnant and lost her unborn son in the wake of the fire. (More Grenfell stories.)

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