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Gas tank explodes, crashes through home’s solar panels

A home in Bridgewater, MA was damaged yesterday when a 50-pound gas tank dumped in a nearby salvage yard exploded, rocketed into the air, and landed on the house about 600 feet away, fire officials said.
No one was injured when the cylinder containing compressed natural gas crashed through solar panels, the roof, and attic of the Pond Street home, coming to a rest in a front bedroom a little after 10 a.m., said Thomas Levy, deputy chief of the Bridgewater Fire Department. Two people were home at the time, he said.

“Thank goodness there was no other secondary explosions’’ when it hit the house, Levy said. “But the device was a very heavy projectile. Someone could have easily been seriously injured if struck.’’

It appears someone wanting to get rid of the tank brought it to the salvage yard and hid it among other scrap metal, a dangerous practice that is fairly common within the salvage industry, Levy said.

When the scraps were being sorted, something ignited the tank and it exploded, shooting into the air and smashing through the house, he said.

Homeowner Bill Woodman, who was in Plymouth at the time, said his son was in an adjoining bedroom to where the tank landed, and Woodman’s girlfriend was in a bedroom directly below, when they heard an explosion. Both were shaken up by the incident, he said.

“I couldn’t even begin to think,’’ Woodman said, describing the phone call he received from his girlfriend right after the tank crashed into the house. “I thought it was a part of an airplane, that was my initial reaction.’’

He did not know how much it will cost to repair the damage.

The tank is the kind used on large transportation vehicles such as buses, investigators said. But firefighters on the scene treated the tank, which was seeping gas even after it landed inside the house, as if it were a bomb, not knowing whether it had come “from an aircraft or somewhere else,’’ Levy said.

The incident is under investigation, Levy said. Whoever took the tank to the yard could face charges, but it is unlikely they will be identified, he said.

Source: The Boston Globe



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