Man sleeping in car survives San Leandro explosion

An East Bay metal shop worker is lucky to be alive after debris from a nearby explosion landed on his car while he was asleep inside.
March 28, 2014 11:47:40 AM PDT
A metal shop worker in San Leandro is doing incredibly well after a near-miss with a flying propane tank that was the result of an explosion Friday morning at a nearby scrap yard.

Inches made the difference in this situation. We're told that Jose Castillo likes to get to work early to avoid traffic. Then he rests in his driver's seat. It was good he was in that spot when the debris came flying down onto his vehicle, a car he'd only had for two days.

"I heard an explosion which felt like a truck went through the building," said the victim's co-worker Paul Tavares.

When Tavares walked out of his office and saw Castillo's car, he couldn't believe his eyes. Then he realized his co-worker had been sitting in his car.

"I didn't believe it at first that it was his car," he said. "It looks like some sort of warzone. And, I mean, I was in shock. I can imagine what he went through. He was actually laying in the car, just relaxing."

The debris that shot through the car was a metal tank that took off from Alco Metal, an iron company across the street.

Tavares ran across Doolittle Drive in San Leandro to tell them what had happened.

"The guy looked at me and he was surprised," he said. "So I said I need a supervisor , you guys need to come over here right now, I said it almost killed one of my guys."

The company is not commenting at this time.

A woman who lives nearby says she wants some answers.

"To see that come all the way over here and explode a car, that's of concern," witness Wafaa Aborashed. "Where else can it go?"

The fire department says employees used a machine to pierce this metal so they could recycle it. And it appears it was full of gas, which could explain why it launched.

The amazing part of all of this is that Jose Castillo is okay.

"I'm in shock," Tavares said. "I mean, it's incredible. I mean, he's got an angel, that's all I gotta say."

Castillo was quickly checked out of the hospital and went back to back to Bayfab Metal where his employer told him to go home and get some rest. His son arrived to pick him up. They still need to figure out what to do with his two-day old car that was destroyed.

Cal-OSHA is investigating the incident.


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