A River flag covers the front of the Zar Burgers bar in San Miguel. Above the white strip, in block letters it reads “Justice for Luc” and a heart that completes the i. Family and friends called her “Luci” or “Luchi”. Her full name was Lucía Costa Osores, she was 18 years old and died this Saturday at the Hospital del Quemado in the City of Buenos Aires, after two cardiac arrests.
At least 40% of his body had been consumed by fire. His face, neck and torso burned inside the bar after a jerrycan of alcohol exploded when it came into contact with a device used for heating and as a centerpiece. In addition to her, eight other people were injured and three remain hospitalized.
“I’m going to eat some hamburgers,” Lucia told her mother on Friday before leaving. In the center of San Miguel, in a bar located at 1189 Paunero street, he would meet seven friends. For Lucia, it was one of the first exits in the middle of the pandemic of coronavirus.
The photos from that night show her smiling, sitting on the patio of the bar. On the table there was an artifact – some call it a little oven, others a candle – that had a high flame. There was one for each group of people. It functioned as decoration and as a heater, and was the trigger for the explosion.
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A security camera in the bar captured the moment: a young woman approached Lucia and her friends with a five-liter jerrycan. First he uncovered it and laid it on the table. Then he grabbed the device and poured out the liquid from the drum. A blaze lit up the courtyard and blinded the camera’s vision. But seconds before, it is observed that Lucia – sitting next to where the girl was standing – received the worst part.
Then the camera shows people turned into flames. Some move, others are consumed on the spot. “My daughter came to eat a hamburger and ended up on fire like a coal,” her father, Pablo Costa, told the television reporters. Since it all happened, he was one of those who filled the front of Zar Burgers with graffiti and flags. Besides the one that asks “Justice for Luci”, there is another that says: “Dad always with you.”
The father deleted the photos from Friday night that reached his cell phone. The family is already aware of all the material that circulates on social networks, including a video in which Lucia is face down, with her body covered in soot. Around you can see the remains of an explosion. Nobody assists her.
When the father feels that the television channels want to share those images with him, he resists and instead asks that they communicate it with the mayor of San Miguel, Jaime Méndez. Question how a bar without an emergency exit could be enabled. Ask how it worked with so many clients, without social distancing, amid the pandemic. The rest of the family also questions how fuel handling was allowed and, above all, why nobody helped Lucia.
“They left her lying and began to take people out of the place, this made Lucía spend more than 20 minutes until the firefighters arrived. That is why 40% of the body was burned affecting the respiratory tract,” they wrote in a statement calling for a march. It will be this Wednesday, starting at 16, in the Plaza San Miguel. They will ask for Justice and an investigation into who the owner of the bar is, whether or not he has other gastronomic establishments in the area and whether behind his authorization there is an act of corruption.
Lucía was intubated upon arrival at the Larcade Hospital, in San Miguel. Then she was transferred to the Hospital del Quemado in the City of Buenos Aires, where she died on Saturday. The rest of the wounded were also referred to the Larcade and the most serious ones to the Buenos Aires institute.
It all happened on the same Friday that Governor Axel Kicillof announced a new phase of the quarantine, which included the reopening of bars and restaurants as of October 19. For that date there was still time left and the tragedy that ended with Lucia dead revealed the precariousness and lack of control.
From the bar they issued a statement, without a signature. It says: “Zar Burger (s) deeply regrets the events that happened. We accompany the pain of Lucía Costa’s family and we hope that the injured boys will soon recover.” According to the family, it was the only pronouncement of the gastronomic establishment. Directly, no one contacted them.
The case was in charge of UFI No. 4 of Guilty Crimes of the San Martín Judicial Department, which classified the fact as “wrongful death and wrongful injury”. At the moment the waitress, the owner and the manager of the premises were charged.
Article 84 of the Penal Code states that “It will be punished with imprisonment from one to five years and special disqualification, where appropriate, for five to ten years, the one who, due to recklessness, negligence, lack of skill in his art or profession or non-observance of the regulations or the duties in his charge will cause another death“.
In addition, the minimum penalty is raised to two years if there are more than one fatality.
Lucia’s family asked this Sunday that the processes not be slowed down so that the autopsy would take place this Monday and, thus, be able to fire her. According to his father, “it was a sun, it never took a matter“. She had done a manicure course and a hairdressing course. In addition, she” went to the church of San Miguel “and lived with her mother.