N. Prospect Explosion Caused by Ignition of Fumes

July 13, 2011

Fire investigators believe yesterday's explosion at 150 North Prospect Ave. was caused by the ignition of fumes from a floor-coating process. Two workers were injured in that basement explosion and transported to UW Hospitals.

The two men were spraying a coating on the floor as part of a basement remodeling project. Investigators have not determined the exact source of the ignition.

The force of the blast blew out two windows at the rear of the basement. Plastic sheeting that had been taped to the walls was essentially vaporized in the heat from the explosion. Crews found some remaining hot spots in the basement, which they extinguished.

Damages are estimated at $10,000.

The City of Madison Fire Department reminds residents:
-Any renovation project requires proper planning and appropriate safety precautions. Security is especially important during the renovation of a basement because of the limitations of a confined space.
-Make good ventilation a priority for any basement project. Use appropriate protective gear: a safety helmet, safety goggles, long sleeves, gloves and a mask all protect you against dust and fumes while working.
-Acetone is a commonly used solvent often found in paint thinners, lacquers, and coatings. Acetone is generally considered to possess a low level of toxicity.
-Breathing in small amounts of acetone may cause throat irritation; larger amounts may increase symptoms to include eye irritation.
-While the toxicity level of acetone is very low, acetone is a highly flammable solvent. Acetone is flammable in both liquid and vapor forms and should only be used in a well-ventilated area. Any ignition source, even a spark from static electricity can cause a fire and/or explosion.

Contact:
  • Lori Wirth, (608) 266-5947