Flying Fire Extinguisher Hits Plainville Home

By Jamie Ratliff
|  Tuesday, Aug 27, 2013  |  Updated 11:20 PM EDT
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A scrap metal recycling facility says part of a fire extinguisher an operator accidentally cut in half flew about a quarter of a mile, hitting a home.

A scrap metal recycling facility says part of a fire extinguisher an operator accidentally cut in half flew about a quarter of a mile, hitting a home.

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By Tuesday night, the roof a Plainville home was all patched up and the neighborhood back to normal, but just a few hours earlier, it was a very different scene.

"I was standing in my kitchen, and I heard this big noise. And the whole house shook," said Tom Orvis of 15 Bartlett Street. "I came outside, and I saw pieces of roofing all over the front of my lawn."

Orvis looked up and saw a chunk of his roof missing. Fire officials said an industrial accident caused a pressurized fire extinguisher to fly nearly a quarter mile through the woods and bounce off Orvis' roof.

In its wake, the extinguisher left a six-inch hole in the roof and damaged Orvis' front lawn.

"I saw part of it," Orvis said. "It looked like half of a tank of some kind, and it was found 150 yards down the street."

According to Plainville police, the extinguisher came from JW Green Company, a scrap metal recycling facility on nearby South Washington Street.

JW Green employee Leigh Marshall said one of the company's shears accidentally cut a pressurized carbon dioxide fire extinguisher, splitting it in half. One piece fell to the ground, and the other the hit the Bartlett Street home.

"It was something that wasn't seen by the operator when he was cutting some beams," said  Marshall. "The fire extinguisher was hidden behind it, and the operator was about 30 feet away from what he's cutting. So he can't see everything."

Orvis said he was skeptical about that explanation.

"I'm baffled by that," said Orvis. "Don't they have any kind of safety to prevent that from happening?"

But Marshall said it's more common than you might think, despite the precautions workers take.

"Things happen like this, unfortunately," said Marshall. "We try to be careful, and we generally are. This doesn't happen that often, and when it does we try to make sure it doesn't happen again."

Orvis and Marshall both said they are thankful the flying extinguisher didn't cause more significant damage, or worse, injure someone.

Orvis said JW Green reached out to him and apologized for what happened and said they would cover the cost of repairs.

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