Hamilton demo company takes responsibility for sending tank into house

Fire and police in Hamilton responded to a home in the 100 block of North Seventh Street on a report that part of the building has collapsed. (Rick McCrabb/Staff)

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Fire and police in Hamilton responded to a home in the 100 block of North Seventh Street on a report that part of the building has collapsed. (Rick McCrabb/Staff)

UPDATED @ 4:24 p.m. (Monday):

The compressed air cylinder that crashed into a Hamilton home Sunday afternoon was described as a “high velocity missile,” by Sgt. Brian Robinson of the Hamilton Police Department.

He said the canister was traced back to the demolition site of the former Mohawk Paper Co. on Martin Luther King Boulevard. Robinson said the demolition crew cut into the cylinder with hydraulic scissors, not knowing the cylinder was still pressurized.

The cylinder then flew an estimated 1,400 feet over rooftops before it hit the asphalt and then crashed into a side of a home in the 100 block of North Seventh Street. A female resident there told police she had just left the room when the accident occurred.

Robinson said the three-foot canister weighed about 100 pounds, and if it had hit someone, they would have died.

“We got lucky,” said Robinson, who said the canister could have hit a motorist, pedestrian or resident in the home.

The demolition of Mohawk is being performed by New York-based Cambria. Robinson said representatives from the company met today with Hamilton city leaders and agreed to pay for the damage done to the residence. Robinson called the damage “very extensive.”

Demolition also has been halted until city inspectors tour the site to assure another incident doesn’t occur, he said.

UPDATED @ 11:30 a.m. (Monday):

Hamilton Police Chief Craig Bucheit tweeted that a local demolition company admitted responsibility for damaging the Seventh Street home Sunday by cutting the tank, launching it 1,400 feet.

ORIGINAL REPORT (Sunday):

Larry Gassert, deputy fire chief of the Hamilton Fire Department, called it the “craziest thing” he had seen in his 30-year career.

A compressed air cylinder shot over two-story homes on North Seventh Street Sunday afternoon, bounced off the pavement and landed in a second-floor bedroom of a home in the 100 block of Seventh Street. The canister ricocheted around the bedroom before it was retrieved by Hamilton firefighters, Gassert said. He said the cylinder was about three feet long, meaning a “substantial piece” was missing.

A 60-year-old female resident told Hamilton police officers and firefighters that minutes before the canister flew into the bedroom, she stepped into another room. Gassert said the woman could have suffered “severe life-threatening injuries.” The woman told relatives she was “too upset” to talk to local media.

Gassert said as the investigation continues, officials are trying to figure out the origin and contents of the canister. The red canister was empty, Gassert said.

There were two large impressions where the canister skid on the pavement before it shot into the side of the home. The house had a large hole on the side where there were jagged edges of siding on the second floor.

The house didn’t suffer any damage to the structure, Gassert said. He said the residents will be allowed to stay in the home.

Several Hamilton police officers and a Butler County Sheriff’s deputy canvassed the neighborhood, seeking evidence. They also talked to neighbors and witnesses who said they saw the canister fly over the houses.

Gassert said the cylinder came from the western direction, witnesses told police.

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