Flushing pipes with acid?

I have a question and I don’t know where else to find answers- this past summer my sister was taking a shower. Plumbers were downstairs doing repairs/remodeling, and we can’t figure out what happened, but she was later found in the tub with burns covering 70% of her body. Doctors believe they’re chemical burns, but something went wrong with the water heater and the pipes burst the next day, flooding the downstairs area.
Is it normal for pipes to be flushed with corrosive chemicals ie hydrochloric acid? I can imagine pipes would have been turned off first? And if pipes are flushed, how much is typically used?
Any information would be incredibly helpful.

Is the downstairs part of your home or is it an apartment?

Professional plumbers use power snakes to clear drains but if it is a floor drain I have seen them use a crystal treatment to control tree roots; very rare.

Have you checked with the plumbers as to what was done?

Were they handymen or licensed plumbers?

It is a 3 story home, and the accident happened on the 2nd floor. This happened in the Middle East where my family was living at the time- in Dubai, and the landlord has refused to cooperate. The police are so incredibly slow and unhelpful as well.

We’ve given up on filing suit or pursuing a legal investigation, but we’re looking for answers for personal closure.

The chemical shot out through the showerhead in a short burst, but just enough to burn one side of her face and her back. It looks like it was a thick liquid, since the burn lines are straight and there are no drip marks. Hope that helps…

Alex there should be no form of acid used to clean domestic water lines acid is some times used but not recommended in drain lines but never domestic water lines. In countries outside the U.S. one would not know what they use

It is possible that the water was heated through a coil and because of the composition of the water (hard water) the inside of the pipes was becoming restricted (buildup). They might have cleaned out the coil with an acid that is supposed to loosen the restriction in the pipes and did not flush the lines properly.

Wish I saw this earlier.
I was having a discussion with a client about hydrocloric acid,and yes it will burn your skin and yes many non -professional plumbers use it.

Were you home at the time and did the air smell like rotten eggs when they were working?

What if they were using sulfuric acid to clean the drains? That could have shot up from a lower shower couldn’t it? I’ve seen that used on drains and it practically explodes. It would also cause chemical burns to skin. Maybe it wasn’t the shower head it came out of.

In the US there are devices and procedures to prevent cross contamination of the water supply.

These procedures and devices obviously were not used in this case.

Also is does not have to be acid. There are other chemicals that burn.

The main issue was that the water supply was contaminated and not properly purged if done intentionally.

This is one of those dangers when living in another country.
I have seen all kinds of crazy things that would never be allowed in this country.
I was poisoned two times by washed food, and a friend almost lost an arm because of the water in South Korea.
A good thing that you didn’t drink the water!

Robert- Her friend who found her in the bathtub has said the bathroom smelled like burning meat/rotten food, which led me to immediately think sulfur when she told me.

And Dominic, whatever came out of the pipes came must have come through the showerhead, as her legs and feet were left untouched.

I truly appreciate everyone’s responses!

Terrible situation and if it invoves a court suit,an inspector could probably determine where or how it could have been introduced if true.
There would also be residue.

As you stated it occured in another country.