Landscapers opened the trailer to find that a gas container had overturned and spilled on the floor. Gasoline fumes had accumulated in the trailer, which ignited when one of the landscapers started a gas-powered lawn mower with an electric start, Harrington said.
Perez was conscious and alert as he was loaded into the ambulance.
“His brother is part of the (landscaping) crew and was talking with him, but you could tell he was in some severe pain,” Harrington said.
Harrington estimated the fire’s damage at $20,000. The trailer contained several lawn mowers, leaf blowers and other pieces of equipment.
The fire also brought down utility lines on Arbella Street; power was temporarily shut off to a portion of the street yesterday morning.
“I heard the explosion,” said Ashley Lyons, who lives at 14 Arbella St. and called 911. “I came outside and there was a huge fire,” she said.
Kerri Alcott of 8 Arbella St. said the explosion shook her house, across the street from where the trailer had been parked.
“You could see (the fire) from the backyard,” Alcott said.
“The power lines caught and flames were cruising down the power lines,” said Adams, who lives in Alcott’s building.
Salem police and fire investigators, as well as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, responded to the scene. The fire’s cause — the gasoline leak and subsequent ignition — has been determined and is no longer under investigation, Harrington said.