Man sets his pants and workplace afire
When he reports back to work, he will no doubt have some explaining to do.
An employee at a furniture manufacturing business off Loma Rica Road decided Friday night to see what would happen if he held a lighter to his pants – which were saturated with a highly flammable chemical.
The result was his pants, and a part of the building, caught on fire.
No one was seriously hurt in the blaze, which was reported at 11:26 p.m. at Furniture by Thurston, 12250 Charles Drive. The employee suffered minor burns to his legs and was taken to Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital. He was released the same day.
“He put a lighter to his pants to see if they would ignite, an EMT told me,” said Dan Slayton, a Furniture by Thurston business manager. “It just baffles me.”
Slayton did not release the name of the employee but described him as a college student in his early 20s.
At the time of the fire, the employee was standing inside a finishing booth where furniture is sprayed with a flammable chemical, Slayton and fire officials said.
“We knew there was a (cigarette) lighter involved,” Slayton said, “and this employee was igniting the lighter.”
Nevada County Consolidated, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, Ophir Hill and Peardale-Chicago Park fire departments responded to the call. The fire was under control in 30 minutes with the help of firefighters and the building’s fire sprinkler system. The damage was minimal, Consolidated Capt. Rob Terrassa said.
“The sprinkler system did its job and kept the fire in check until firefighters got there,” Terrassa said.
Furniture by Thurston is a commercial furniture manufacturer whose biggest clients are universities and dormitories, Slayton said. Monday, employees were still removing charred furniture debris out of the warehouse.
Somewhat ironically, business owner Lee Thurston has been one of the state’s most active lobbyists for reform to California’s workers’ compensation program for those injured on the job.
It was still unclear Monday whether the employee will retain his job with Furniture by Thurston.
“So far (the employee who started the fire) hasn’t reported to me, so I don’t know his (job) status,” Slayton said. “We will follow all the labor rules.”
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