Wednesday, November 6, 2002

Auto shop explosion injures two

Published in the Current and the American Journal

A container of “waste oil and other products” exploded around 11 a.m., Nov. 5, at the VIPDiscount Auto Center at 207 Waterman Drive in South Portland, injuring two male employees, according to South Portland Fire Chief John True.

True said it was a “major explosion” followed by a “flash of fire,” which did not ignite any other material.

Some of the liquid caused chemical burns on the face of one worker, who was taken to a Portland hospital. Asecond worker was taken to a hospital as well, with a possible broken bone.

The fire department covered the liquid spill with foam and waited for an environmental cleanup company to arrive.

True said the exact contents of the container were unknown, but “if the mixture’s right and the conditions are right,” waste oil and other car fluids can explode.

The South Portland Police Department is investigating and notified the state Bureau of Labor and the federal Occupational Health and Safety Administration.