Workman engulfed in flames after static from his SHOE ignites lorry load of foam

Workman engulfed in flames after static from his SHOE ignites lorry load of foam

The man was loading a lorry with foam rolls with a colleague in China last week when the whole lot spontaneously exploded.

It is believed a tiny spark created by friction from his footwear ignited colourless but highly flammable butane gas inside the lorry’s hold

He miraculously escaped the inferno with only minor burns and a whole lot of singed hair.

Butane is used in the production of polyethylene foam, also known as pearl cotton.

Bundles of the stuff can be seen inside the lorry as the two workmen prepare to leave after the loading job.

How does static cause an explosion?

  • Statis electricity is created by the friction between two surfaces, which creates energy in the form of an electric charge.
  • This statis electricity can be enough to create a spark – we've all experiences this when taking off a wooly jumper.
  • In the wrong setting, this spark can be enough to ignite a fire.
  • As the spark touches fumes of vapor, it releases the energy the flamable substance contains.

In footage widely shared online, the man, only known by his surname Wei, can be seen jumping down from a bundle of the cargo and landing on the metal lorry box.

A static electricity charge created by the sole of his shoe striking the metal ignites the gas in the enclosed space, engulfing him in a ball of flames from which he is luckily able to escape.

The explosion is so intense it seems to light fire to a roll of the polethylene foam sitting outside the truck as well.


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