Explosion Launches 1.5-Ton Boiler 500 Feet, Killing 3

The van-sized boiler caused casualties in 2 different St. Louis buildings
By Gina Carey,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 3, 2017 1:03 PM CDT
Explosion Launches 1.5-Ton Boiler 500 Feet, Killing 3
St. Louis Fire Chief Jenkerson speaks to the media about the incident.   (St. Louis Fire Department)

A bizarre and deadly accident happened in St. Louis on Monday when a 1.5-ton boiler exploded, killing one person—with the force of the blast then propelling the boiler out of the building and through the roof of another, with equally deadly consequences. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports the incident occurred early Monday in the Loy-Lange Box Company; the boiler flew 500 feet and landed on the Faultless Healthcare Linen building. When rescue teams arrived at the latter building, they found two dead, with a third person alive but trapped under the cast-iron boiler; that victim has been hospitalized in critical condition.

St. Louis Fire Chief Dennis Jenkerson doesn't suspect foul play and says maintenance records and schedules will be reviewed—while noting the boiler was still hot when he arrived 15 minutes after the explosion. "These boilers, when they get pressurized they get very dangerous," Jenkerson tells KMOV. "It takes a licensed boiler operator to operate these things." Another nearby building was also damaged by way of an 8-foot-long pipe that took out its sprinkler system. One unnamed Faultless worker tells the Post-Dispatch that a secretary and two workers who had recently joined the company were those involved, though police haven't released such details. "That boom is in my mind," he says. "It's a thing you don't forget." (More explosion stories.)

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