Girl injured in blast goes home, but her friend remains critical

Three weeks after gas explosion in Mirdiff, three of the injured are improving but one remains critical.

The blast in the basement of the Housee family's home in the Mirdif area of Dubai left all four girls with severe burns injuries.
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DUBAI // One of four teenage girls injured in a suspected gas explosion in Mirdif three weeks ago returned home from hospital yesterday, while two other victims are also showing good signs of recovery, the specialist treating them said. Fatima Housee, 16, had been receiving treatment for burns at Rashid Hospital following the blast at her home on June 18.

Two of the other girls, Daniela Seddon and another girl identified only as Lina, have also made considerable improvement and are now able to walk and eat, said Dr Nael Abousidou, a plastic surgeon at the hospital's burns unit. The fourth and most severely injured of the four, Kim Oberholzer, remains in a critical condition in the hospital's intensive care unit. "Fatima, Daniela and Lina are walking, talking and eating," said Dr Abousidou.

"They are starting to resume their normal lives." Miss Oberholzer, 14, from South Africa, who suffered burns to 55 per cent of her body, developed a lung infection at the end of June, but Dr Abousidou said her condition also shown signs of improvement. "Kim is conscious but is sedated," he said, adding that she had successfully undergone skin grafts on her hands and forearms. The blast in the basement of the Housee family's three-storey home left the girls with severe injuries including second-degree burns.

They remained sedated, incubated and on ventilators in the intensive care unit for days after the explosion. Although the accident was initially blamed on a gas explosion, the exact cause remains unclear. The Housee family, who are from Mauritius, had lived in the house for five years. The girls have yet to speak to police about the incident. The family spoke of their relief at Miss Housee's recovery. Miss Housee is now able to stand and move about, her elder sister said, adding that she had now returned home.

"Fatima still has some bandages on, but she has made lots of progress," Madiha Housee said. "The family are feeling so much better after her improvement." Dubai Municipality and Emirates Gas announced details of a campaign increasing awareness of gas safety on Saturday. The two-week programme focuses on the safe handling, storage and usage of low pressure gas cylinders at restaurants, cafes and hotels.

It will also stress safety precautions such as correct ventilation and maintenance procedures and easy access to fire extinguishers.