The Darwin Awards

2004 At-Risk Survivor

Next Prev Random At-Risk Survivors have misadventures that stop short of the ultimate sacrifice. Nevertheless we salute the spirit of their colossal blunders with an Honorable Mention. Better luck next time!

Welding Warning
2004 At-Risk Survivor
Confirmed True by Darwin

(1 January 2004, Singapore) If you ever find yourself with a leaking fuel tank on your motorbike, be sure to heed this lesson from a 39-year-old man from the Bukit Panjang neighborhood. He removed the leaky tank from the bike and carried it to his sixth-floor flat, where he drained the gasoline into a pail in his toilet. Considering what happened next, it was fortunate that nobody else was in the flat, and that nobody was standing on manhole covers a block away.

He lit a propane torch, planning to solder the hole in the tank. Unfortunately, gasoline that had spilled on his hand caught fire. Frantically trying to extinguish the flames by plunging his hand into the toilet, he ignited the gasoline fumes coming from the pail. The toilet was engulfed in a ball of fire, and the explosion "shook the block." Smoke poured out of the bathroom window.

That was just the beginning. Some of the burning gasoline spilled down a floor drain and into the sewer system, where it mingled with sewer gas and set off a massive underground explosion. Startled residents watched in amazement as one manhole cover was "blown to pieces," and two others popped open. People fled their homes, fearing disaster.

The man survived all of this chaos with minor burns on his left hand, for which he refused treatment.

Reader comments:
"When a idea goes from bad to worse..."
"I'm Jumping Jack Flash, it's a gas gas gas." -Rolling Stones
"Think epoxy!"

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Submitted by: Olivia Lee
Reference: Channel NewsAsia, Singapore Straits Times

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