Police: Kendall man injured in explosion of home science project

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDJune 12, 2013 

KENDALL - An explosion caused by a backyard science project sent a Kendall man to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle early Wednesday, June 12.

Investigators believe the 44-year-old resident conducted the project in a two-story shed: He used an electrical current to separate hydrogen from water, then captured the gas in a 5-gallon propane tank, said Whatcom County Sheriff Bill Elfo. The man meant to use the hydrogen as a fuel supplement for his vehicles.

But about a minute after midnight the tank overpressurized and exploded. The blast rattled the neighborhood near the 8300 block of Golden Valley Boulevard.

"Our whole house shook," said Mark Metcalf, who lives about two blocks away. "Everyone in our whole cul de sac came out to look."

The man, identified by family members as Andrey Lukyanchin, suffered severe burns on his limbs and torso. He was airlifted to Harborview with critical injuries.

Lukyanchin remained in serious condition as of Wednesday afternoon, a hospital spokeswoman said.

Law enforcement found no evidence of a crime, Elfo said. Family members told investigators the man had a hobby of conducting his own science experiments based on videos he found on the Internet.

Agents from the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives assisted in the investigation, which lasted into the afternoon.

Reach Caleb Hutton at 360-715-2276 or caleb.hutton@bellinghamherald.com. Read his Dispatcher blog at blogs.bellinghamherald.com/dispatcher or follow him on Twitter at @bhamcrime.

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