Official stresses safety with oxygen canisters after explosion

Dangers of working with compressed gas

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - An explosion in East Lake that killed one man and seriously injured another is still under investigation. Birmingham Fire officials have ruled it was an accident, but have not officially released the cause.

However, they do say witnesses told them the men were doing something with oxygen canisters.

“We don’t want to minimize the fact that they (compressed gas cylinders) are dangerous. However, the level of safety with those compressed cylinders, come with the level of care people use when they are transporting them, storing them,” said Birmingham Fire Battalion Chief Sebastian Carrillo.

Carrillo adds the dangers can be broken down into three categories.

First, the weight of the canisters: if it falls on you, it can cause injury. Secondly, what’s inside can obviously be explosive or flammable. And third, the pressure.

"The valves on them, if they were to fall over and get knocked off, because the contents are under pressure they could become like a missile,” said Carrillo. “Explode and take off like a rocket.”

It’s important to store compressed gas properly. If you are transporting it, make sure it is secure.

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