Acetylene is a colorless gas often used as a fuel by plumbers and welders, among other tradespeople, for welding, cutting, and similar processes. Highly unstable, acetylene gas, together with air or oxygen easily forms an explosive mixture. Even a small cylinder of the substance can cause a great deal of damage and injury to people and pets.
What is Acetylene ?
Acetylene is a gas used for fueling cutting torches in general industries, like plumbing, and steamfitting, and mining industry. When mixed with pure oxygen in a cutting torch assembly, an acetylene flame can theoretically reach temperatures over 5700 degrees Fahrenheit.
Proper Storage is Key to Avoiding Massive Explosions
Acetylene is stored in a high pressure cylinder filled with a porous material that contains acetone. As with any gas, proper care should be exercised to seal the cylinder once it has been used and maintain proper ventilation systems so that there is no release of the gas into a confined or closed space. Leaks should be avoided for the same reasons.
For example, a steam fitter left an E-size oxygen tank and acetylene cylinder on the back seat of a double cabin truck over the weekend. The acetylene cylinder was not fully closed and began to leak. Over the weekend the acetylene accumulated inside the truck. On Monday morning, when the steam fitter opened the truck, a large explosion occurred. Burning his face and damaging his ear drum.
Serious Injuries are Common Following Acetylene Explosions
An acetylene explosion causes injury and even death to people and their pets from the force of the blast, falling or flying debris or shrapnel, and the flame. Broken bones, missing fingers and limbs, as well as skin disfigurement are common. The blast of the explosion is so loud that permanent hearing loss or ear drum rupturing is possible. No one ignition source was identified. The ignition could have been caused by internal light circuitry, automatic door control, mobile phone that was in the front seat of the truck, or the act of the steam fitter lighting a cigarette. Any of these activities could have caused the explosion.
Safety Should not be Learned by Accident
Improperly stored acetylene gas is unstable. With a wee bit spark an explosion is very likely. Don’t wait for an explosion to occur to follow safety protocols for the storage of acetylene gas. The following precautions should always be kept in mind.
- Acetylene gas regulators should not exceed a setting of 15 P.S.I.G.
- Flame arrestors and check valves should be installed at both the torch base hose connections and at the regular hose connections.
- The cylinders should be properly secured at all times. Movement of the cylinders should be made with great care and be protected from heat and flames.
Injured in an Acetylene Explosion in Massachusetts?
Experienced Boston Area Personal Injury Attorneys – Initial Consultations Are Always Free – No Fee Unless We Recover For You
If you or a loved one has been injured in an acetylene explosion, then call the acetylene explosion lawyers at The Law Offices of Gerald J. Noonan today. We have a proven track record with over 35 years of legal experience. Our personal injury and accident victim attorneys have successfully represented victims of explosion accidents for decades and we are ready to take on your case today.
No matter where you are located, we are just a phone call away. Call our law offices today to schedule a free no-obligation case review and consultation at (508) 588-0422 or click the link below to use our Free Case Evaluation Form.
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