Boy injured by dry-ice explosion
A BOY suffered cuts on his fingers and left wrist when a plastic bottle, in which he and three schoolmates had playfully filled with dry ice, exploded in his hands, The New Paper (TNP) and Chinese evening dailies reported yesterday.
The 10-year-old was treated at the National University Hospital (NUH) following the incident on Monday afternoon.
He was back in school yesterday for his examinations with his hands bandaged with gauze and plasters, Shin Min Daily News reported.
"With painkillers, the wounds do not hurt now," the boy told Shin Min.
The explosion took place at the void deck of Block 297C, Choa Chu Kang Avenue 2.
The four boys, from Chua Chu Kang Primary School, had earlier bought the dry ice from a roving ice-cream seller, who often stations himself outside the school.
An elderly woman who witnessed the incident said the boys were thrilled when one of them tightened the cap of the bottle and shook it vigorously.
"The blast shocked the boys and caused them to flee, leaving behind fragments of the bottle, a few drops of blood and an ez-link card," Madam Li, 82, told Lianhe Wanbao.
The explosion was so loud that it gave a fright to a housewife living on the ninth floor of the block.
"My son was cycling at a park nearby and I thought something had happened to him," the 38-year-old, who gave her name only as Madam Sheila, told TNP.
A man who found the injured boy helped clean his wounds and called an ambulance to take him to hospital, the boy's father, who wanted to be known only as Mr Wong, told Shin Min.
The Singapore Civil Defence Force said it dispatched an ambulance and a fire engine to the scene.
Mr Wong, 46, who works in a logistics company, said he is very upset that dry ice had been sold to children, and has decided to pursue the matter.
"Vendors should not sell such dangerous stuff to primary-school kids. I have informed the National Environment Agency (NEA) and hope to get a reply," said Mr Wong.
He added that he would not punish his son, who could do insensible things at his age, but would teach him not to play with dry ice.
The boy was scolded last week by his grandmother after being caught playing with dry ice with his friends, according to Shin Min.
The ice-cream seller, who identified himself as Mr Lin, said he had sold a piece of dry ice, about the size of a 50-cent coin, to the boys for $1.
Mr Lin, 45, said he had previously sold dry ice to pupils from the school, usually when they told him they were working on a school project.
He said he always advised them to wear gloves when handling it.
"When I heard about the explosion, I was shocked. I didn't expect this to happen," he said.
Mr Lin said that he would never again sell dry ice to the pupils, unless they are accompanied by a teacher or a parent.
Dry ice is the solid form of carbon dioxide, and when it turns into gas, it will expand to a volume 600 to 800 times larger, Zhang Baile, from Nanyang Technological University's School of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, told TNP.
The rapid evaporation of the "melted" form of the dry ice in an enclosed space caused the explosion, said Associate Professor Zhang.
According to Associate Professor Gao Zhiqiang, from the National University of Singapore's Chemistry Department, just sealing dry ice in a bottle is enough to increase pressure inside the container and trigger an explosion, without any shaking.
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