Two homeless men stay warm with a propane torch in a severely burned SUV

Two homeless men stay warm with a propane torch in a severely burned SUV

MANCHESTER, NH – Manchester Fire and AMR Ambulance responded to a report of possible burn injuries to two people in the area of ​​an Avis Rental Car on South Willow Street on Friday.

MFD Engine and Truck 7, Rescue 1 and two AMR ALS units arrived at the scene and found two men suffering from burns. The victims were taken to Elliott Hospital for treatment of first- and second-degree burns and are expected to recover from their injuries.

Crews responded to the Avis Rental Car parking area around 6:30 a.m. and provided immediate medical attention to two men and transported them to Elliot, Chief Jonathan Starr said. Reports that a third person was involved have not been confirmed, but only two people were transported.

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The people involved were homeless and found access to a car in the parking lot and were staying there and trying to get warm. They were using a propane plumber’s torch held in the on position, providing a flame to generate heat, according to Starr. The flame of the torch went out at some point, and when people tried to light it again, the propane fumes “flickered,” igniting the atmospheric propane inside the vehicle.

The car never caught fire because the steam burned quickly and caused burns to the face and hands of the people involved.

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Using propane appliances as heaters can be extremely dangerous due to the flames, and also create dangerous levels of carbon monoxide in the air. Starr said there have been other propane-related incidents at homeless encampments, including one that was fatal in previous years.

Starr directed people needing shelter to visit at 199 Manchester Street or 39 Beech Street. It is not known how many beds, if any, were available last night.

In the Avis parking lot, you can see two shopping carts filled with personal belongings next to a car in the back corner of the parking lot. One of the workers at the Avis building said that he arrived after the incident and had no knowledge of what had happened or where it had occurred.

Starr noted that Avis Rental Car had no knowledge of people staying in the car. Many vehicles had extensive damage from previous accidents and could not be secured to prevent access to people.

The Manchester Fire Marshal’s Office and Manchester Police are investigating the incident.

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