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Car-Battery Explosion and Fire Injure 7 in Westminster Dr. House in Palm Coast; Drugs Suspected

| July 19, 2013

By midnight Thursday, crime tape had surrounded the house at 33 Westminster Drive in Palm Coast, where up to seven people were injured from an explosion and a resulting small fire. (© FlaglerLive)

By midnight Thursday, crime tape had surrounded the house at 33 Westminster Drive in Palm Coast, where up to seven people were injured from an explosion and a resulting small fire. (© FlaglerLive)

Last Updated: 12:11 p.m.

Almost two years ago when the Flagler County Fire Rescue union staged its annual 24-hour paramedic competition, one of the scenarios involved a meth lab exploding in an ordinary house in a residential neighborhood, resulting in several injuries and requiring the intervention of medics and cops.

Late Thursday night on Westminster Drive in Palm Coast, it was not an exercise.

Shortly after 11 p.m., an explosion was reported at 33 Westminster Drive, and a possible fire. When Palm Coast Fire Department firefighter-paramedics arrived at the 2,000 square-foot house, one person was severely injured from a burn in the lower half of the body.  Within half an hour, seven people would be transported to Florida Hospital Flagler, three people had been treated for “basic life support,” meaning their injuries were minor. But the burn victim was a trauma evacuation, ending up at Orlando Regional Medical Center’s burn unit. The emergency room at Florida Hospital Flagler at one point, around 11:45 p.m., sent word that it could take up to six people.

An investigation revealed that the explosion had taken place in the kitchen as Petr Miroshnik, the 55-year-old owner of the house, was working on a car battery, on the kitchen table, according to a Flagler County Sheriff’s spokeswoman. The battery exploded.

Authorities believed there could have been up to 12 people living in the house, but that number was later revised to seven. Neighbors spoke of four very young children living there. The Sheriff’s Office confirmed that children ages 2, 3 and 6 were among those taken to Florida Hospital Flagler. The house belongs to a Ukrainian family, which neighbors described as laid back, friendly and neighborly.

As firefighters investigated the scene inside the house, they spoke of possible drug-related “paraphernalia” and called in units of the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office. Later, they spoke of the possibility of a methamphetamine lab. Such labs are often makeshift operations in homes, where accidents are frequent and dangerous, because ingredients used to make meth, such as ammonium nitrate, are highly explosive.

The sheriff’s office drug unit was called in before midnight, as was the fire marshal. The marshal was to determine the origin of the fire, which was minor and was contained to what appeared to be a rear area of the house, with little damage elsewhere. The incident produced a lot of smoke, however.

By midnight, crime tape had gone up around the property and several units of the sheriff’s office were replacing fire-rescue units at the scene for further investigation. Little additional information was released at the time.

Five small marijuana plants were found in the house, the Sheriff’s Office reported. But by morning, fire officials and the sheriff’s office had discounted the meth lab possibility.

“It wasn’t what they thought it was, a full-blown meth lab,” Palm Coast Fire Chief Mike Beadle said.

The house, however, is not livable at the moment, because of heavy smoke damage. The Red Cross is caring for the family.

“Obviously the gentleman is being treated for burns,” the sheriff’s spokeswoman said. “I don’t know that anything was filed just yet or whether it will be. The investigation is continuing.”

Training exercises aside, Palm Coast has had its share of meth-lab issues. In April 2010, a 1 year old was rescued from one such lab on Fanshawe Lane. Last April, a meth lab was busted on Cooper Lane. That lab, too, was in a house where a number of children were present.

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11 Responses for “Car-Battery Explosion and Fire Injure 7 in Westminster Dr. House in Palm Coast; Drugs Suspected”

  1. Geezer says:

    I heard some scuttlebutt that these folks were eating excessive amounts of cabbage.
    Hydrogen gas and/or methane may have been the causally related to the blast.

  2. Outsider says:

    I have witnessed two car battery explosions first hand. The plastic shrapnel can certainly cause injury as well as acid burns. Hydrogen gas, which filled the Hindenberg, by the way, cause the explosion. Do not work on or charge car batteries in enclosed spaces, nor hover over or near a battery when charging or “jump starting” a car.

  3. A.S.F. says:

    He was working on a car battery in the kitchen? Isn’t that a little strange?

  4. Just Another Opinion says:

    Glad no children were injurged..
    It even says on batteries that they are highly explosive…What would possess a grown man to bring a car battery into his home to work on..
    Certainly not worth all the consenquenses that happened…

  5. Seminole Pride says:

    Twelve people in one house !!

  6. AnnW says:

    That house has been pending sale since Jan. It’s a short sale…too bad for the buyers.

  7. Mr mondex says:

    Let me get this strait,,,he’s working on a car battery on the kitchen table???oh. Duh!!
    First what’s there to work on??the most you or anyone can do to a car battery is clean the terminals or charge it with a charger ,I mean was he dismantling the battery??? Who in there right mind takes a car battery into the kitchen to service it??.where you cook you food ..oh .duh,!!! & they found weed plants??
    Oh,,duh!! Wake up ,,and there saying they can’t decide it was a clandestine meth lab,wow that’s all I can say is wow!!!ive been a auto tech.all my adult life and I’ve seen 1 car battery blow up ,,1st it was still in the vehicle
    2nd it was caused by excessive heat due to over charging ,by the alt.charging system. I ask you this what exactly were they heating up near this overcharged battery to cause it to blow up!!! Oh Duh!!!!

  8. Anniw Welcome says:

    What’s wrong with you people. You know nothing about this family. I do! They are an extremely family oriented, way more then I can say about most families. Mr Miroshnik would never hurt his family. He has raised a wonderful family. So the man made a mistake…. who hasn’t…. I can almost bank on it those of you so quick to run your mouths made many mistakes in their lives, we all have….. So until you hear the whole truth of what took place… Give this family a break and stop trying to slander their FAMILY!!!!

  9. Florida Native says:

    Don Fleming for sheriff. I rest my case.

  10. Dave says:

    Mr Mondex I have a question being as you seem to know what your talking about and have been a auto tech most of your adult life. How is it that you know the battery was overcharged and that it was exposed to such high heat that it caused it to explode? I agree that bringing a battery into the house was not the best choice at all but is it not possible that for some reason this bad choice was made and that he was trying to repair a terminal and that maybe the tool he was using was long enough that it shorted out between the positive and negative terminal and caused the battery to short out if this was indeed the case ?

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