16-year-old victim of school fire accident dies four months later

16-year-old victim of school fire accident dies four months later

One of the nine students injured in a fire at their school in Bitlis on Nov. 28 is carried off by paramedics. (Photo: AA)

March 19, 2012, Monday/ 15:38:00/ TODAY'S ZAMAN

A 16-year-old high school student who suffered severe burns in a fire at his school in Turkey's Bitlis province on Nov. 28 passed away on Sunday during an operation, a week after having been moved out of intensive care.

Onur Zeki Akgün, who told the press last week that he missed his friends and wanted to return to school as soon as possible, suffered burns on over 50 percent of his body, including his neck, back, arms and feet, when a controlled fire lit as part of a fire drill demonstration at his school spread quickly after gasoline was poured on it by someone in the crowd. Eleven others were injured in the blaze.

Having pulled through four months of operations and treatment in intensive care at Kocaeli's Derince Training and Research Hospital in İzmit province, the young man's heart stopped on Sunday during the course of what doctors have said was to have been his last operation before being discharged from the hospital.

Surgeon Murat Güven told the press that Akgün had managed to pull through a string of serious operations over the past four months, but that despite the best efforts of an experienced medical team, the 16 year old was unable to be resuscitated when his heart stopped during the operation on Sunday.

Speaking to the press following his removal from intensive care last week, Akgün said he missed his school friends and family and that all he wanted was to be able to return to school and go on holiday to Antalya with his family. Akgün's father, Haydar, who told the press he had not left the hospital throughout the course of his son's treatment and had moved his family to the area so they could all be close to him, said that the teachers deemed responsible for the accident had only received a suspension and a warning from the school.

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