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Blast blows out windows at Wilborn Avenue business

SoVaNow.com / October 21, 2013



South Boston firefighters were called out Sunday morning to a blast that shattered the windows of a downtown business — the result, apparently, of a build-up of gas inside an old wooden barrel.

The incident took place at Perkins Scooter Shop, located at 916 Wilborn Avenue, shortly before 11 a.m. The shock waves blew out the building’s windows and sent shards flying, causing minor damages to vehicles parked next door at a downtown church. Damage to the vehicles was minor, said a South Boston Fire Department spokesman.

The building sustained an estimated $2,000 in damages — caused when the owner of the business, David Perkins, drilled a hole into an old 55-gallon wooden barrel. According to South Boston Fire Chief Steve Phillips, Perkins uses the discarded barrels to fashion wood stoves. The barrel that exploded may have at one time contained transmission fluid.

Whatever the case, when the drill bit pierced the top of the drum, fumes inside exploded. Perkins was thrown back, but unhurt.

“It was a miracle he wasn’t injured,” said Phillips.

South Boston firefighters checked to make sure the building was safe after the blast, aided by members of the Halifax Volunteer Fire Department.

On Thursday, the South Boston department worked another incident — a trailer fire on Alphonse Dairy Road, reported at 4:36 p.m. Thursday. According to Phillips, a 20-year-old occupant of the dwelling, Brandon Bollinger, suffered burn injuries from a kitchen grease fire. While the fire caused minimal damages — the blaze was out by the time firefighters arrived, leaving only the task of blowing smoke out of the home — Bollinger suffered serious wounds that required treatment at a Richmond hospital. He is recuperating and is expected to fully recover, according to a Facebook page updated by family members.

The dwelling, owned by James Pillion, sustained $2,500 in smoke damage. No one else living in the home was injured.



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