Lucia Costa went out to eat a hamburger with friends from her parish. Now she is dead. She was 18 years old, worked as a manicurist, studied hairdressing, sympathized with River and was full of dreams, like moving to the South. He liked to mission. Killed her on friday the explosion of a centerpiece used as a heater, at the local Zar Burgers, in San Miguel, when the girl on duty wanted to fill it without turning off the flame. His name was added to that unbearably long list that is still being written in Argentina of absurd and preventable deaths.
Because in the death of Lucia three factors coincide, of ascending gravity, that are in many other local tragedies. First, there was an unconscious that tampered with an artifact. In this case, the girl, without a doubt poorly trained or not trained at all, who had the stupid idea of filling the center of the table with alcohol, which gave both heat and light, throwing the flammable liquid into the flame directly from a five-liter drum. The explosion was terrible, as recorded in a terrifying video.
Click to see the full video
Second, there was an owner of a place open to the public who did not think about the safety of his clients. Surely you saw that those centerpieces, also called “ecological fireplaces” were not very expensive (between $ 1,500 and $ 3,200 in Mercado Libre) and they saved you from the hassle of heating your patio, which you also opened before such activity was formally enabled by the provincial authorities in the context of the pandemic.
Third, there was a non-existent state (municipal) control, which left the heating system to be installed in the patio of his bar free to the imagination of this owner. Whether the hamburger was enabled or not – as Lucía’s relatives argued – is not central. In both cases the State fails. But the reality may be worse: sources from the municipality of San Miguel, asked if the place had permission to put this type of centerpiece, they told a journalist from Clarín that “there is no legislation on that” and that “a bar is not enabled or ceased to be enabled for that”. Not? Can you heat a bar in the suburbs with gas, electricity, alcohol or uranium without any inspector saying anything?
The same three factors, with another scale, were present at the Cro-Magnon disaster. There was a person with few lights who threw a flare in a closed place. An owner without morals who put a half shadow on the roof, padlocked the emergency exit and filled the local with people. And City employees who looked the other way instead of reporting the obvious wrongdoing. Cro-Magnon cost 194 people’s lives, prison to the owner of the bowling alley (among others) and the position of various officials, starting with the then head of the Buenos Aires government, Aníbal Ibarra.
Here they have already been charged the wench, the owner of Zar Burgers and the manager of the business. The maximum political person in charge of the commune, meanwhile, is called Jaime Méndez. It is from Together for Change, and perhaps that is why Carlos Bianco, Chief of Staff of the province of Buenos Aires, immediately targeted the municipality. “First you have to explain why that bar was open”, diagnosed the official Axel Kicillof, faithful to the Kirchnerist decalogue that indicates quarantine above all. Bianco, attentive to the political scum, did not understand that the important thing in this case was not that the bar was open but that no one controlled its heating system: this next weekend that bar would have opened “legally” and Lucia could have died of the same absurd death. Nothing relieves Méndez of his responsibility, anyway.
With the country traversed by the pandemic and the dollar, both unstoppable, Lucía’s case resonates so much because it transcends the conjuncture. Tragedies like those of San Miguel are avoidable. Whoever fits the coat to put it on. All at once.