Man claims wife was killed by laundry static in Polk home - WNCN: News, Weather

Man claims wife was killed by laundry static in Polk home

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Auburndale home where family says static electricity ignited fireworks and killed Kathryn Flint. Auburndale home where family says static electricity ignited fireworks and killed Kathryn Flint.
Auburndale home of Kathryn Flint Auburndale home of Kathryn Flint
AUBURNDALE, FL (WFLA TV) -

Can static electricity from laundry ignite fireworks?

An Auburndale man says it happened to him and took the life of his wife, Kathryn Flint, and their family dog over the Fourth of July weekend. George Meredith calls it a tragic, freak accident.

Kathryn was thrilled to have a home full of children and their grandchildren on the holiday. Her husband says she was folding towels for the kids when the unthinkable happened. Kathryn suffered third degree burns over her entire body when 200 mortars exploded in their house.

Witnesses say she went into the bedroom to get the fireworks for the kids when the mortars exploded, causing a chain reaction.

In an exclusive interview, George called popular nationally syndicated radio talk show host Bubba the Love Sponge to share his emotional story Monday morning. Bubba consoled him as George gave a heartbreaking detailed 15-minute interview. Bubba asked, “What happened, buddy? What’s the real story?”

George told Bubba, “The only thing we can come up with is that when she brought the towels in there, the mortar is there on the side of the bed, the towels there on the bed, the static electricity.”

Bubba answered him by saying, “Man, George, I've got to be honest with ya, if I may. That's a real stretch.”

George maintained that the accident happened when the static ignited the mortars, “I talked to a fire chief and he said it's very very possible that that's what happened.”

So, just how common is this? Can static electricity cause a mortar to explode?

8 on your side did some digging. We took the question to the state fire marshal. We were told this sort of fire happened 113 times last year: 41 times caused by friction and 72 times caused by spontaneous combustion. Investigators are looking at all possibilities in this case, including a cigarette in an ashtray that was knocked over in the home.

George fought back tears as he recounted the story to Bubba about his wife being on life support. “When I walked around the corner and seen five doctors standing there, I knew it was over then.”

He added, “She had less than one percent of ever surviving. Bubba, when I had to make that call, pulling the plug, yeah, that's one of the hardest decisions I've had to make in my life.”

The state fire marshal is working with investigators on the cause of ignition.

Copyright 2014 WFLA.  All rights reserved.

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