LaPorte, Ind. - A LaPorte woman was seriously burned in an explosion caused when she placed a pan of boiling wax into cold tap water.
The blast carried enough force to blow a 2-by-6-foot hole in the ceiling of her apartment and even popped the nails in the drywall out in the hallway, LaPorte Fire Chief Andy Snyder said.
Judy Doherty was transferred to a burn center in Fort Wayne with second- and third-degree burns to her arm.
"She was conscious and talking to us but in a state of shock when we arrived," Snyder said.
Firefighters about 3 p.m. Monday responded to Maple City Square Apartments at 1204 Andrew Ave. They were met by a haze of smoke throughout her one-bedroom apartment. According to firefighters, Doherty was frantically pacing around her apartment.
Doherty told investigators she was melting candles and the boiling wax in a pan on the stove caught fire. She then placed the pan in the kitchen sink and turned on the faucet.
Snyder said boiling wax coming into contact with cold water begins turning from a liquid into a gas. The molecules during the transformation begin expanding so rapidly the result is a bomblike explosion.
"It creates quite a drastic percussion," Snyder said.
Snyder said the walls in her kitchen and much of her entire apartment were splattered with wax and anything made of plastic that came into contact with the hot wax instantly melted.
Arlene Schoof lives two doors down from Doherty and heard her scream. Schoof said she looked out and saw another woman helping Doherty.
Snyder said Doherty was lucky to have survived.
"Without question," he said.
Comment Now: Post Your Thoughts & Comments on This Story