Man dies from explosion at Topeka racetrack while using torch to cut open metal drum

TOPEKA, Kan. — A man Kansas authorities say was using a blow torch to cut into what he thought was an empty metal drum died after the drum exploded.

The Topeka Fire Department says in a news release that the explosion happened Friday evening near a maintenance building at the Heartland Motorsports in Topeka. Firefighters arrived to find 41-year-old Joshua Darryl Aubert suffering from critical injuries. Officials say he died at the scene.

Investigators say while Aubert thought the drum was empty, it was labeled as containing methanol, which is a highly volatile compound.

Officials have listed Aubert’s death as accidental.

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