As summer approaches, you may find it wise to carry insect repellent, sunscreen and other seasonal products. But if you use these or other products in aerosol form, special precautions are in order, according to the Brimfield Police Department, which recently responded to a vehicle explosion caused by a stored can of aerosol air conditioner recharger.

Sometime around noon Tuesday, May 29, the aerosol can exploded inside a parked vehicle at the Hitchcock Free Academy parking lot. The can had been placed in the car near the rear window. Shortly after the explosion, a visitor to the parking lot noticed the damage and notified Brimfield Police. Luckily, no one was present at the time of the explosion, and no injuries occurred.

“When it exploded, it damaged the back deck of the vehicle and sent glass roughly 40 to 50 feet across the parking lot,” comments Patrol Officer Ryan Olszta.

The explosion caused considerable damage to the rear of the vehicle, including damage to the frame and warping and cracking of the back deck.

“We are thankful that no one was in the parking lot at the time of the explosion. But if they were, they would have potentially been exposed to shrapnel from the explosion,” commented Olszta. “Just the percussion from the explosion could cause damage to a person’s eardrums as well.”

Common aerosol products that people may unwittingly leave in hot vehicles include insect repellent, sunscreen, deodorants and hairspray, or even household products such as “canned air,” used to clean electronics.

Most aerosol cans can withstand temperatures up to 120 degrees. Anything beyond that temperature can cause an explosion. On a day with 80-degree weather, a closed and locked car can reach temperatures of 130 degrees within 30 minutes.

“The big takeaway is that you always make sure you don’t leave your children or pets in a hot vehicle. But people don’t realize that if you have an aerosol can in your car, you expose yourself to the possibility of injury or damage in hot weather,” remarked Olszta.

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