By GoDanRiver Staff
The Danville Fire Marshal’s office has finished its investigation of a reported “explosion of a cylinder” that took place Monday night at 1072 Riverside Drive and ruled the incident an accident.
When the call first came in at 6:40 p.m., it was reported that a stove exploded. When firefighters arrived, they found two injured people — Ray Hairston and Terence Burton — lying on the loading dock of the building, which Hairston was using for storage, Richard Guill, assistant fire marshal, said.
The men were taken to Danville Regional Medical Center, where Burton was treated and released. Hairston was transferred to Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital with “severe by not life-threatening injuries,” a news release from Guill stated.
A third person, Lawrence Terry, avoided injury by jumping off the loading dock.
Guill said he and Fire Marshal Shelby Irving investigated the incident and discovered the explosion actually occurred when part of fire extinguishing system, fully loaded with a “clean agent fire suppression gas known as Halon” was activated.
Guill said the men were unloading the cylinder, which had been dismantled from a fire suppression system in 1993.
The cylinder — meant to be attached to a wall and remain there while a hose attached to it dispensed the Halon — was triggered and began hissing.
The cylinder, fueled by the pressurized Halon, then rocketed across the loading dock and hit both Hairston and Burton as it flew into the building.
The Fire Marshal’s office ruled the accident was caused by improper handling of the cylinder, and warns citizens to handle fire extinguishers following these guidelines:
» pressurized cylinders are extremely hazardous if improperly handled;
» never assume a cylinder is empty;
» treat all cylinders as if they are fully charged; and
» failure to follow the equipment manufacturer’s instructions may result in serious injury or death, and property damage.