Sanitation worker hurt in Park Slope helium tank explosion

Sanitation worker hurt in Park Slope helium tank explosion
Exploded: A helium tank blew up in the back of a sanitation truck, injuring one sanitation worker.
Photo by Paul Martinka

A sanitation worker was injured when a helium tank exploded in Park Slope on June 14, according to police.

David Yen was hauling a garbage bag into the rear compactor of a sanitation truck idling on 12th street near Sixth Avenue — unaware that the bag contained the pressurized canister, cops said.

When the truck began compacting the trash, the tank condensed and exploded, launching metal shrapnel into Yen’s face and chin, according to police.

First responders arrived on the scene and took Yen to nearby Methodist Hospital in stable condition, according to police.

The Department of Sanitation guidelines specify that explosive vessels are not permitted to be disposed of with regular garbage, according to a spokeswoman.

“Helium tanks may be put out with bulk metal recycling, but a resident must take steps to do this safely – the tank needs to be completely emptied and the head of the tank must be removed,” said Belinda Mager. “They should never be placed in garbage bags and put out for regular garbage collection.”

Reach reporter Aidan Graham at agraham@schnepsmedia.com or by calling (718) 260–4577. Follow him at twitter.com/aidangraham95.
Hurt: A sanitation worker was injured by an explosion caused by a discarded helium tank in Park Slope on June 14.
Photo by Paul Martinka

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