A Bronx senior center worker was killed yesterday after a barbecue grill he was cleaning exploded with a blast powerful enough to shatter nearby windows. Joseph McLendon, an employee of the Comprehensive Care Management Center in Bronxdale, reportedly set off a chemical explosion after using the wrong kind of cleaning agents on the propane grill. Deputy Fire Chief Kevin Scanlon told the Daily News, "It was a huge, huge blast...It's a miracle more people were not hurt."
McLendon, a father of five, was pronounced dead after being rushed to Jacobi Medical Center. His mother said, "It's the most terrible thing to have to bury your child. I'm devastated. I'm just devastated." But locals wanted to know why such a seemingly dangerous task was being conducted so close to residential buildings. Neighbor Denise Rodriguez said, "Why would anyone leave a propane tank next to a senior center? Why would they do that? It puts people in danger."
The FDNY recommends that propane grills be cleaned at least once a year with soapy water, after making sure the gas tank is turned off. The Consumer Product Safety Commission says 20 injuries occur every year from gas grill fires and explosions.