Thirsty fireman guzzled ammonia by mistake

A routine smoke diving exercise took a wrong turn for an unsuspecting fireman in Gothenburg. After completing the exercise, the fireman saw what he believed to be a bottle of water on a bench.

“He grabbed the bottle and drank two big gulps,” said Nils Andréasson, head of rescue operations, to newspaper GT.

Unfortunately, the bottle contained not water but a mixture containing 25 percent ammonia.

As soon as the fireman realized what he was imbibing, he immediately ran off to find water and vomited up everything. According to Andréasson, he suffered chemical burns in his mouth, throat and down towards his stomach.

Andréasson was unable to account for how the ammonia ended up on the spot, in an unmarked bottle.

“We have no idea how the ammonia got there. It was in a regular water bottle, which was why he took it and drank out of it,” he said to GT.

Although unwilling to speculate whether a crime had been committed, Andréasson confirmed that the incident had been reported to the police, and added that he’d never seen a situation like this.

“We practice every day at 20 fire stations, and there are never any accidents. We have so many instructions and security demands. Besides, these are people who are extremely aware of the risks involved with their jobs,” he said to GT.

The unlucky fireman received fast care from his colleagues immediately following the incident, which took place on Monday.

“These exercises are done in a work team which includes firemen who’ve worked in ambulances for years, so he received adequate care right away. And we contacted the poison control centre directly through SOS and received information,” said Andréasson.

The injured firefighter was immediately taken to Sahlgrenska hospital by ambulance. According to GT, his condition was severe but stable.

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