Sunday, April 13, 2014

India: German Tourist, 23, Falls Asleep, Dies While Smoking, Big Tip: Carry a Portable Smoke Detector

According to, a German tourist, 23, died yesterday (April 12) when a fire broke out in a private guest house at Chakratirtha Road in Puri in Odisha.

The decedent, known only as Julian,  was sleeping in a room in a guest house when a fire broke out, according to Sea Beach police station Inspector Prabhas Kumar Sahu.

Julian who reportedly had been staying at the guesthouse since April 3, suffered severe burns over 70% of his body.

Hotel staff noticed smoke coming from his sleeping room, which was locked from the inside.

COMMENT: As precious time dissipated, police eventually rushed to the scene and broke down the door only to find the German youth's charred body.

It is believed that the fire ignited from a cigarette butt.

Police found unidentified drugs of unknown quantity and a bottle of cough syrup with high alcohol content in the room.

All lives of all persons are precious, which is why it is so sad to see anyone perish from causation that was avoidable.

Even though I remember my youth as if it was yesterday, far too many decades to even count, I do remember sleeping on peoples' couches, staying in budget accommodations, etc.

Yet, somehow I was blessed to survive years of cutting of corners, taking avoidable chances and doing things on the cheap.

If I can be permitted to offer a suggestion, it is this:

When you are in your 20s, you truly believe that you will subliminally live forever. Unfortunately, that really isn't true. 

Actually, "shit happens" far more than we're all willing to acknowledge.

Take it from someone that formerly served as an associate director of security at the US Department of State, who has seen everything bad that can happen to well-intentioned people.

If not for yourself, but for your parents, pass up the high-risk accommodations, and stay at a place that has at least a smoke detector, so you can bury your folks, rather than it being the other way around.

Alternatively, but a portable smoke detector that costs only $30, yet it can save your life:

If you're able, think for a moment, just a moment, the anguish and grief that your parents will feel when they hear about Julian's death and how he died. 

Julian's family will no doubt blame themselves for the rest of their days for not doing more for their son.