Man loses hands in chemical explosion at Readville apartment building

Updated with police statement.

Somebody playing with some chemicals in a Readville apartment this morning caused an explosion that blew his hands off, gave him extensive second and third-degree burns and injured at least four other people.

Boston Police say the person, whom they did not identify, was conducting "a chemical experiment" around 9 a.m., when the explosion happened in his basement apartment at 15 Riley Rd.

The Herald reports police now think the newly handless man may have been trying to make fireworks.

A second person was also taken to a local hospital with serious injuries. Police say three other people were treated at the scene.

EMTs went into triage mode to handle all the people coming out of the building. Police and firefighters went through the building and a neighboring one to evacuate residents. The police bomb squad and the BFD arson squad responded.

Firefighters reported heavy smoke from the basement before they knocked the fire down.

Police recovered a quantity of a potentially explosive chemical.

Ed. note: Police at the scene referred to potassium chloride, but see the comments for why it might have been potassium chlorate.



    Free tagging: 



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    Bomb making material.


    more likely to be making explosives

    I haven't heard of a meth process using KCl ... but who knows what cooks have devised.

    KCl is, however, an additive for explosive mixtures.

    Given the explosion, it wasn't likely being used for calibrating solutions for electrical conductivity meters or calibrating radiation meters ... or at-home heart surgery.


    KCl vs KClO3

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    Potassium Chloride [KCl] is quite different from Potassium Chlorate [KClO3]. The first is a simple salt, and a common substitute for table salt [NaCl]. The second is a powerful oxidizer that can be used as an explosive. Its a simple process to make the chlorate from household bleach and potassium chloride.


    Not that simple

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    For the apparently Darwinially challenged.

    Guy's lucky he only gets a nomination because he didn't kill himself.

    Children, don't play with matches - or the stuff that makes matches. And don't screw around with Potassium Choride or Chlorate if you don't know the difference.


    At This Time...

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    He couldn't confirm a connection to drugs or terrorism at the time of the interview, but that doesn't mean that one or the other won't ultimately be determined as a factor in this incident. The man said "he was experimenting" with the chemicals that exploded. If you do the math, what else could produce the result?


    potassium chloride or

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    potassium chloride or potassium chlorate? Big difference.


    This is why I love UH. We're

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    This is why I love UH. We're a bunch of rag-tag commenters who know our chemistry!