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Water heater fire at Calexico VIB branch sparked by cleaning solvent, worker injured

June 28, 2001|By DARREN SIMON, Staff Writer

CALEXICO — Fire officials here are warning people to be careful when using cleaning solutions that contain flammable materials after an incident at Valley Independent Bank here Tuesday.

Calexico Fire Department Capt. Ernesto Avila said firefighters were called to VIB at 25 E. 3rd St. shortly before 10:30 a.m. based on a report of a water heater fire.

When firefighters arrived there were no flames but there were signs of scorching around the bank's water heater.

Avila said firefighters learned that an employee was using a cleaning material near the water heater in a room that was not ventilated.

Avila said it is likely the spray from the cleaner caught the pilot flame in the water heater, causing a brief flash. He said the flash, fortunately, did not spark a fire.

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The employee involved complained of pain and was treated by firefighters at the scene. The employee refused further aid and said he would seek his own medical attention.

He did not appear to suffer serious injuries and there was only minimal damage around the water heater.

Avila said it is important for people to be aware whether cleaning materials contain flammable materials and to be cautious about where such materials are used.

Such cleaners should be used in well-ventilated areas — outside or in a large ventilated room — and people should take the time to read the directions.

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