SAN LEANDRO -- A 61-year-old man napping in his car before work narrowly escaped serious injury Friday morning after a propane tank from a nearby facility exploded, flew across Doolittle Drive and smacked into his vehicle, authorities said.
The chunk of metal traveled approximately 0.2 miles before shredding through the man's new Honda Civic, leaving the car looking like a sardine can with the lid pulled off.
Gabriel Fragoso, a metal fabricator at Bayfab Metals, an industrial sheet metal company, said his co-worker narrowly escaped death because he had leaned forward to turn off his cell phone alarm at the same moment a piece of metal came hurtling through the car's back window just before 7:30 a.m.
"We were all just shaken up," Fragoso said. "It makes your skin crawl to think about it."
The 5-gallon propane tank that was being cut down came from Alco Metal & Iron Company, a metal recycling facility located at 1091 Doolittle Drive.
Cal/OSHA is investigating the incident to see if proper safety protocols were followed, according to Greg Siggins, a spokesman for the agency.
Siggins did not know if the propane tank still had fuel inside, but he said the cause of the explosion is under investigation and it could take up to six months to complete.
Alco Metal & Iron Company has been cited for violations four times during inspections over the past decade and two other violations are currently being investigated, according to Cal/OSHA.
An Alco employee who answered the phone Friday morning said the company had no comment about the accident.