A HYDE Park, Timehri couple, on Thursday, died after entering a septic tank at their residence.
Reports are that 42-year-old Camille Dwarka visited the outdoor toilet at her residence, but was subsequently heard screaming by her niece Anita Joseph, who reportedly lived with Dwarka.
Being alerted by the screams, Joseph ventured out of the house to ascertain what had happened. And upon a closer inspection, she discovered her aunt floating in the septic tank.
Joseph immediately called out for 51-year-old Ramlall Madhoo, who did not hesitate to plunge into the septic tank to rescue his wife.
Realising that Madhoo was not coming up to the surface, she checked and noticed both bodies floating in the septic tank. The Guyana Fire Service (GFS) was called in at around 21:32 hours to extract the persons.
Upon arrival at the scene, firefighters noticed the bodies floating in the septic tank and managed to cut it open to retrieve them.
The police then took over and examined the bodies, but there were no marks of violence on the areas that were visible.
The man and woman were subsequently taken to the Diamond Diagnostic Centre, where they were pronounced dead on arrival. The bodies are at the Memorial Funeral Home awaiting an autopsy.
“In light of this tragedy, the Guyana Fire Service would like to advise citizens that septic tanks should be cleaned on a relatively regular basis,” the GFS said in a statement on Thursday.
The average household septic tank should be inspected at least every three years by a septic service professional.
According to the fire service, the lack of cleaning and maintenance to septic tanks could present serious hazards including septic cave-in or collapses, methane gas explosion hazards and asphyxiation hazards, as well as risks of unsanitary conditions such as bacterial or viral infections.
In providing specific advice, the GFS said persons should never lean over a septic tank opening or stick their heads into the tank to examine its interior, since could cause them to become overwhelmed by gases, fall into the tank, and suffocate.
For this reason, the fire service advised persons to leave tank cleaning and repairs to trained professionals, and never enter a septic tank unless they are specially trained and are wearing special equipment and gear for that purpose, including a self-contained breathing apparatus.
“Do not go into a septic tank to retrieve someone who has fallen in and was overcome by gases unless you are equipped with a self-contained breathing apparatus. Instead, call for emergency services and put one or more fans at the top of the septic tank to blow in fresh air,” the Guyana Fire Service advised.