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Blowtorch, spray paint set off Naperville worksite blast

No one was injured and no damage was reported in the blast that occurred about 11:52 a.m. at the I Fly indoor sky-diving facility, which is under construction at 1752 Freedom Drive, just south of Interstate 88.  |  Bill Bird~Sun-Times Media
No one was injured and no damage was reported in the blast that occurred about 11:52 a.m. at the I Fly indoor sky-diving facility, which is under construction at 1752 Freedom Drive, just south of Interstate 88. | Bill Bird~Sun-Times Media

A lighted welder’s torch that came too close to a box full of spray paint caused an explosion that startled motorists and passersby late Monday morning at a construction site on Naperville’s far northeast side.

No one was injured and no damage was reported in the blast that occurred about 11:52 a.m. at the I Fly indoor sky-diving facility, which is under construction at 1752 Freedom Drive, just south of Interstate 88.

The explosion was loud enough to have been heard by patrons of the LA Fitness center at 1836 Freedom Drive, across the street from where I Fly is being built.

“Some of our members notified us that they heard somewhat of an explosion,” said an LA Fitness manager who declined to be identified. “And then we saw flames.”

The manager said 4-to-6-foot-tall flames shot up from the second floor of the sky-diving center. Another employee said the flames burst upward and then disappeared before shooting upward again.

Deputy Naperville Fire Department Chief Rick Sander said the blast occurred when a construction worker’s welding torch accidentally set fire to a cardboard box containing canisters of spray paint. Sander said he did not know how many cans were in the box.

Firefighters went to the scene to investigate, and concluded there was no danger to construction crew members or employees or patrons of nearby businesses, Sander said. I Fly is being built just north of Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant, and is directly across Freedom Drive from a bustling strip mall.

Sander said no citations were issued to the construction company, nor was it necessary to notify officials of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration about the incident.

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