Homeless men suffer burns in propane torch incident at car lot

1 min read

MANCHESTER –– Two homeless men were badly burned Friday morning while trying to keep warm in an SUV using a propane torch.

The incident occurred on a used car lot on South Willow Street, according to Manchester Fire officials.

The Manchester Fire Department (MFD) and AMR ambulance service responded to the incident around 6:30 a.m. after receiving reports of possible burn injuries.

Upon arrival, responders found two men with burns and promptly transported them to Elliot Hospital.

The victims, whose identities have not been released, are being treated for first-degree and second-degree burns.

They are expected to recover, District Chief Jonathan Starr said.

The men had reportedly found shelter in a vehicle on the Avis Rental Car parking lot.

They were using a plumber’s propane torch for warmth.

The torch’s flame went out, and when the victims attempted to relight it, the propane vapors ignited, causing a “flashover” that left the men with face and hand burns.

The car did not catch fire as the vapor burned off quickly, Starr explained.

Starr warned against the use of propane devices as heaters, noting the risk of fire and carbon monoxide poisoning.

He referred to previous incidents, including a fatal one, involving propane use in homeless encampments.

People in need of shelter were directed to locations on Manchester Street and Beech Street.

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