Man cutting into racing fuel barrel causes big blast in Orange County

Explosion happened along Fernando Street

By Jennifer Ortega - Reporter, Keith Dunlap

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - Merally Pastrana said she was inside her living room with her kids when all of a sudden the floor shook.

"It was so scary that I'm still shaking," Pastrana said. "All of a sudden we heard this big boom. When we came out everything seemed normal, there was no smoke."

Pastrana said she didn't know what was going on until emergency crews showed up on Fernando street taking her neighbor away on a stretcher, with second-degree burns on 20 percent of his body.

"He really messed up his body because of the explosion," Pastrana said.

Orange County Fire Rescue said the 67-year-old man was cutting into a 55-gallon racing fuel barrel and that the tool he was using sparked, causing the fumes inside to explode.

"Maybe he didn't have the right experience (and thought) 'Oh if I do this, nothing will happen,'" Pastrana said.

Neighbors said the man cuts metal into scrap in his backyard, and that he was probably trying to cut down the barrel but forgot to empty it out first.

Fire rescue officials said a large piece of barrel was sent flying into the home shattering the side of a dishwasher inside.

"If you know it has gas in it or it could be oil or something worse, you have to be cautious," Pastrana said.

Neighbors are glad the man is alive and no one else was hurt.
 

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