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Fire extinguisher explodes, killing a construction worker and injuring another in Chelsea

A construction worker was killed, and another was injured in a freak accident, last Wednesday, when a fire extinguisher exploded in Chelsea, Manhattan. According to ABC 7 News, the accident occurred just before 9 a.m. on the fourth floor of 341 Ninth Avenue.

The construction workers were working on the site when the fire extinguisher exploded. The first worker died from his injuries at the scene while the other worker was rushed to Greenwich Village’s Lenox Healthplex in serious condition.

In addition, two police officers who may have been responding to the construction site accident were injured when their police cruiser collided with a civilian’s vehicle at Ninth Avenue and 25th Street. The two police officers were taken to Bellevue Hospital for treatment, while the other woman involved in the crash was transported to Lenox Healthplex.

Fire Extinguisher Maintenance

Fire extinguishers do not explode frequently, but unfortunately, they can malfunction and cause a number of problems if they are not serviced regularly. According to Quick Response Fire Supply, a fire extinguisher exploded in 2014 when a worker was operating a forklift to dump the contents from a dumpster. The fire extinguisher was improperly disposed of and malfunctioned when the worker picked it up, causing it to explode and killing the worker.

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends that fire extinguishers be serviced and evaluated each time they are used. This prevents extinguisher components from malfunctioning or breaking the next time someone uses it. A number of environmental factors can contribute to the damage on a fire extinguisher, including extreme temperatures, ultraviolet ray exposure, humidity and excess moisture, and vibration, such as from construction sites. In addition, the NFPA rendered a number of fire extinguishers obsolete in 2018.

Some of the types of fire extinguishers considered obsolete include:

  • Soda acid
  • Chemical foam (excluding film-forming agents)
  • Carbon tetrachloride, methyl bromide, and chlorobromomethane (CBM)
  • Cartridge-operated water
  • Cartridge-operated loaded stream
  • Copper or brass shell (excluding pump tanks) joined by soft solder or rivets

The NFPA called for the removal of these and other obsolete fire extinguishers to preserve the safety of their users.

Contact a New York Construction Accident Attorney

If you were injured on a construction site in New York and need legal representation, the workers’ rights attorneys at Hach & Rose, LLP are ready to assist you. We have years of experience handling cases relating to OSHA complaints, work injury claims, and occupational illness. Our lawyers have won millions of dollars in compensation for victims of these accidents and are ready to do the same for you. Please do not hesitate to reach out if you decide to take legal action to claim compensation, or if you have questions about your injury.

Given the COVID-19 pandemic, we have taken steps to protect our clients and employees. We offer online consultations and are available to answer your messages and calls, so please don’t hesitate to contact us. Call (212) 779-0057 today.


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