• Sweden edition

Prankster convicted for office gas cloud blast

Published: 16 Sep 2011 11:40 GMT+02:00
Updated: 16 Sep 2011 11:40 GMT+02:00

The man, reportedly in his fifties, has a reputation as a bit of a prankster and enjoyed playing tricks on his colleagues from time to time.

According to the man himself, it was not an unheard of activity at the company in Varberg, in southern Sweden, where employees seemed to enjoy a good joke.

But when the man decided in February to change the hose connections on a flux bin, containing a chemical agent used in metallurgy, things didn't go as planned.

Despite the man's claims that he had performed the stunt numerous times before as a joke, his shenanigans caused a gas cloud to form which then ignited, causing a powerful explosion.

The man sustained serious injuries in the blast, as his hair and clothes caught on fire, resulting in a lengthy hospital stay.

A few of his colleagues were also injured. One woman's clothes caught fire and she sustained a lasting hearing impairment from the blast.

Two other colleagues who had been close by when the explosion occurred suffered passing hearing problems and one received burns to his face.

Cases of negligent behaviour often carry suspended sentences and damages in Sweden.

But prior to the trial the prosecutor had said if the court found that the man had acted especially negligent, a prison sentence was not an impossibility.

”If this borders on intent, a prison sentence could be on the cards,” said prosecutor Marie-Louise Eskilstorp to local paper Hallands Nyheter before the sentencing.

However, although the court ruled that the man must have known of the potential consequences of his actions, it did not believe he had purposefully intended to hurt his colleagues.

The failed prankster therefore received a suspended sentence for negligent behaviour causing bodily harm to his co-workers.

TT/Rebecca Martin (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

15:04 September 16, 2011 by DamnImmigrant
I wonder if the company will be unable to terminate his employment.
16:23 September 16, 2011 by salalah
This problem occurs every Thursday in our office...
23:56 September 17, 2011 by SuperTulle
I heard a story from Domnarvet in Borlänge once. As a steelworks, they did a lot of welding, and oxygen and acetylene was piped throughout the buildings.

A common prank was do fill a small paper bag with a small amount of acetylene, and then light it on fire, producing a small bang. One day, a relatively new guy saw this, and decided to "up the ante". He filled a garbage sack with acetylene, and lit it.

The ensuing explosion went pretty much like in the article (except my dad never mentioned anyone other than the guy holding the sack getting hurt), and the dust from the roof girders didn't settle for a week.
12:49 September 18, 2011 by muscle
this happens when according to SOME something is safe while it isn;t. Some time back there were news that a guy wanted to make a nuclear reactor in the kitchen. and many wanted to say he was right. these kind of problems take place when only one mind tries to see the danger in something and misses out many other possible dangers.
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