Four people are injured, and one man is afraid to flush, after a series of toilet explosions at a Brooklyn development.
As the Daily News reports, the drama began when Michel Pierre, a 58-year-old Flatbush resident, heard that plumbing maintenance was being done in his development to install a backflow prevention valve. At 11 PM, he flushed the toilet to see if the building’s water had been reactivated, only to have the toilet blow up in his face. Pierre was knocked unconscious by the blast and lacerated by multiple pieces of ceramic shrapnel.
“I remember there was a ‘boom’ and the thing exploded in my face,” Pierre recounted to the Daily News. ”I was blinded and pieces flew all over the place.”
Pierre awoke covered in blood and cuts. He was treated at Methodist Hospital, where his wounds required a total of 30 stitches. In addition to Pierre, three other members of his Caton Tower development were also hurt by other toilet explosions.
However, for Pierre, the lasting damage is as much mental as it is physical. He is too afraid to flush the toilet from inside the bathroom, and now uses a piece of string to turn the handle from a safe distance.
After all this abuse at the hands of his throne, Pierre’s lawyer, Sanford Rubenstein, believes his client is entitled to some kind of compensation. “Toilets are supposed to flush, not explode,” said Rubenstein, who is filing a lawsuit agains Century Management, the development’s owner.
A lawyer representing the building’s co-op board informed The Daily News that the development’s engineer and insurance provider are still investigating whether the explosion was preventable. Experts told the paper that a buildup of air pressure in the pipes during plumbing work is the most likely reason for the blasts.
While legal matters are hashed out, victims of the commode explosions will be working on getting over a trauma still fresh in their minds. “It sounds silly but I’m still scared,” admitted Pierre. ”I can’t stop thinking about it every time I look at the bowl.”