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Almost burnt alive

Friday, January 29, 2016
Survivor recounts road to recovery
Sanjay Armoogam, left, looks over images of himself after his accident with GML Enterprise Desk senior journalist Otto Carrington. PHOTO: MICHAEL RAMSINGH

Staring death in the face. It’s a term that Sanjay Armoogam can attest to. Eight years ago Armoogam, then 20, was employed as an electrical trainee and was given the opportunity to work on a major electrical project. 

This was a dream come true for him but his passion would nearly cost him his life. 

Armoogam shared his story about the day he nearly died and about receiving severe second degree burns to his arms, neck and face also temporarily losing his vision.

He recounted to the GML Enterprise Desk: “I was doing training at a mall in South Trinidad and something went wrong with the electrical and all I could remember was a flash,” he said

He recalled a distinct odour, the scent of burning flesh.

Armoogam and three other men were injured. He declined to identify his colleagues and the company where he was employed as he has taken legal action over the incident.

He said after he was hospitalised, it was only then he realised the grave condition he was in. Armoogam said that his face and other parts of his body was charred “like roast meat.”

The scariest news was when doctors told him his eyes where scarred from the heat and he would lose his vision. Within the first 24 hours of the accident, Armoogam was already temporarily blind.

But within two weeks, his body started to react differently and doctors saw “miraculous” healing of his skin and he was discharged.

Two months before the accident, Armoogam’s mother was diagnosed with cancer and the news of his injury took a toll on her health. Months after his accident she died.

Armoogam’s father, Charles, recalled  when he got the call that his son was injured on the job he rushed to the hospital. 

He said he did not recognise him even though he was sitting in front of him.

“It was by his voice, I realised it was Sanjay. I am amazed how Sanjay healed and also his courage to be in so much pain and still be strong.”

Armoogam said that doctors told him that his skin was very healthy and his youthful age had a great part during his healing process.

To this date, Armoogam walks around with the images of this tragic moment in his life. 

He says he gets flashes all the time of the explosion and this happens on a daily basis.  

After his recovery, he has stayed away from major electrical repairs and now has found a new love for fixing air conditioning units. 

He believes that his faith and prayers had a big part to play in his recovery from certain death. 

“I want to let any young man out there know that when you are dealing with electricity be careful,” he urged.

Apart from the mental images, Armoogam remains with a three-inch scar but he still gets pain in his eyes whenever he ventures into the sunlight.

Now with his future looking bright after the accident, Armoogam wants to become a successful businessman and also get closer to God.