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Nearly asphyxiated by CO2
Reading about Jeff's experience when his fish died because of some problems
with his CO2 system, I like to tell you folks about mine. Fish dying is a
sad thing but yours truly nearly lost his life because of a gas cylinder.
It happened a few days ago. My friend, Edward and I were driving home from
the gas company after refilling 7 gas cylinders with CO2. Only one of the
cylinders was mine, the rest belong to a fish shop where Edward used to
help out. The gas tanks were lying on the floor of the back seat
compartment. I know, we should have put them inside the boot but Edward
has a lot of junk inside his boot and it was just too much trouble to
unload them to make space for the gas tanks.
It was just another sunny day afternoon in Singapore. It was scorching, as
usual. Edward was driving and I was sitting beside him. We were just
chatting away when suddenly there was a loud bang like a gunshot and next
thing you know, the whole car was filled with very thick white smoke. It
all happened in micro-seconds. I couldn't see a thing and also couldn't
breathe. The first thought that occurred to me was to wind down the
windows but Edward's car windows were permanently jammed in the close
position. His is an old car which would have been sent to the scrap yard
long ago if not for the fact that cars here in Singapore are so expensive.
After struggling for what seemed like an eternity, I finally managed to
open up the car door. The air immediately cleared and I started to breathe
again. Imagine all that happened while we were driving on the high speed
lane inside a tunnel which is part of an expressway. I turned to look at
Edward and he was real cool, one hand on the steering wheel and the other
holding his door open. He told me afterwards that when visibility dropped
to zero, his first reaction was to take his foot off the accelerator.
Fortunately for the both of us, he had the good sense not to slam his
brakes which would be the usual reaction of any driver when he couldn't see
where his car was going. Although he couldn't see a thing, Edward held the
steering wheel steady which kept the car going on the same lane.
Otherwise, we would have probably either have gone off the road or went
into another lane. Either way, it would have resulted in a nasty accident.
We stopped on the side after a while to take a look at what happened. One
of the gas tanks was all frosted over. It had dumped 5 kilograms of CO2
inside the car in a few seconds. Edward said it happened probably because
of a sudden change in temperature. His car's air-conditioning wasn't
really working well and the sudden rise in temperature must have caused the
emergency valve in the gas tank to give way.
Well, thank goodness, I'm still alive to talk about this. I don't know how
it's like over in the US of A but those few Singapore subscribers who are
reading this should take note that you should never put a fully-filled CO2
gas tank inside your car. Put it inside the boot and make sure your car
windows are wound down when you are on your way home from the gas company.
Loh K L