Gas, laundry lead to explosion

Published 11:00 pm Thursday, September 15, 2011

A mix-up with containers led to an exploding washing machine at a North Three Notch Street residence late Wednesday.

Sgt. Benny Scarbrough said Troy Police and Troy Fire Department personnel responded at about 11:45 p.m. after they received a call about an explosion and fire in the 1100 block of North Three Notch Street.

The fire and explosion occurred in a storage room that doubled as a laundry room.

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“The resident said she poured what she thought was Chlorox into the washing machine and closed the lid and that’s when she said it exploded,” Scarbrough said.

The bottle she thought contained bleach actually contained gasoline.

“Her husband said he had used the bottle to store gas because he didn’t have a gas can,” Scarbrough said, adding that the incident was ruled accidental.

Lt. Curtis Shaver of the Troy Fire Department said the combination of gasoline fumes, an enclosed space and any type of ignition device could have led to the explosion and fire.

“The fumes from the gas are going to be ignited by any kind of ignition switch,” he said. “You have an ignition switch in a dryer – and if it’s a gas dryer you have an open flame – and even in the timer on the top of the washing machine …

“In a closed space, the fumes are going to basically build up and ignite.”

And, even though the gasoline likely was mixed with water in the washing machine, the fumes would be flammable. “The fumes are going to come to the top and they’re going to ignite once they come into contact with an ignition source.”

No one was injured in the incident.