In the Trade Union Building in Odesa, where dozens of people died on May 2, a chloroform substance used in medicine was discovered, the head of the Investigation Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, Vitaliy Sakal, stated at a press briefing Monday, May 19, as reported by Interfax Ukraine.
“In the debris and the soot removed during the inspection of the Trade Union Building, a chloroform-like substance was discovered. Chloroform is well known: it is used during surgery, but how it came to be in the Trade Union Building is something we’re trying to establish,” he said.
“The inhalation of chloroform vapor, according to expert opinion, leads to respiratory arrest, which is exactly what happened here. 32 people died not from the heat but as a result of the effects of an unknown substance — cardiac arrest and choking,” Sakal said.
Sakal noted that the mixture containing chloroform was in the Trade Union Building for over a day. “According to experts, if chloroform remains in the air and in contact with air, it becomes a dangerous substance. There is no need to heat it even, inhaling it leads to irreparable consequences for health,” he explained.
Sakal added that Ukrainian law enforcement agencies have asked the Embassy of Israel in Ukraine to provide qualified experts to help Ukrainian professionals conduct a more thorough examination.
According to Sakal, the main issues to be addressed by experts include the amount of chloroform that was present in the building, “the proportions used, if it was it mixed with gasoline or diesel fuel, which were the flammable mixtures (present in the building).”
He said the Ukrainian side is expecting a response from Israel soon and hopes it will send experts to Ukraine.